Belk Posts Soft Q3

For the third quarter, Belk, Inc., posted a net loss of $8.2 million versus a net income of $3.6 million for the prior-year period. Excluding non-comparable items, the net loss for the quarter was $8.5 million versus a net income of $4.6 million for the prior year, according to the retailer.

Net sales for the 13-week period were $859.5 million, down 0.1% from the prior-year period, Belk stated. On a comparable store basis, net sales slipped 0.8%. The best performing merchandise categories during the quarter were active wear across all categories, women’s contemporary and modern sportswear, men’s and kid’s apparel, the company reported.

On a bright note, the company’s online sales from belk.com increased 46% for the period. The site’s “Yes! We Have It” item locator program and store fulfillment of digital sales initiatives contributed to the growth by providing customers with expanded access to Belk inventories, the company asserted.

In announcing the financial results, Tim Belk, chairman and CEO of Belk, Inc., said, “Third quarter sales were essentially flat, in line with most of the department store sector. The slowdown in sales, coupled with the increase in expense associated with our ongoing strategic investments, resulted in a year-over-year decline in profits. Our e-commerce business continues to show strong growth, and we were pleased with the opening of two new stores and three expanded and remodeled flagships in October. We believe we are well positioned for the holiday season and are encouraged by the prospects for an improved trend.”

Belk opened two new stores on October 15, a new flagship store at Bridge Street Town Centre in Huntsville, AL and another unit at Juban Crossing in Denham Springs, LA. The company also completed the expansion and remodel of two, now flagship stores at Friendly Center in Greensboro, NC, and Mount Pleasant Towne Centre in Mount Pleasant, SC, and an existing flagship store at Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, AL.