In the first quarter, ended May 2, family-owned Belk generated net income of $21.8 million versus $19.3 million in the prior-year period. The department store chain reported that net income excluding non-comparable items totaled $24.6 million compared to $19.4 million in the year-earlier period.
Comparable store sales gained 3.3%, the company stated, while net sales advanced to $985 million from $955.1 million in the prior-year quarter.
“First quarter sales remained strong, continuing the trend we saw in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2015,” said Tim Belk, the company’s chairman and CEO. “E-commerce continues to be our fastest growing business. Although the expenses related to our investments continue to impact earnings, we are beginning to see the benefits from those investments in top line growth and higher margins.”
Expansion of omnichannel initiatives is part of the company’s investment strategy as is store expansion and remodeling, growing distribution capacities, enhancing information technology and boosting customer services.
Belk opened two new stores on March 11, one at North Atlantic Shopping Center in Jacksonville, FL, and one at The Pinnacle in Bristol, TN.
Belk operates 297 Belk stores in 16 states in the southern United States as well as e-commerce operations.