Belk, Inc.’s reported second quarter results showed both a net sales and comparable store sales increase.
Tim Belk, chairman and CEO of Belk, said, “While the beginning of the quarter was soft, sales trends improved during the quarter with July being the strongest month. Merchandising margins were higher than last year with lower inventories, which positions the company well for the fall season. Digital continues to be our fastest growing business.”
Net sales for the 13-week period increased 0.8% to $906.5 million compared to the prior-year period, the retailer reported. On a comparable store basis, net sales increased 0.6%. The best performing merchandise categories during the quarter included children’s shoes, ladies contemporary and better sportswear, juniors and children’s apparel.
The company’s online sales from belk.com increased 43.1% for the period and positively affected the company’s comparable store sales by 1.8% for the period.
Year-to-date sales increased 0.3% to $1.86 billion compared to the same 26-week period last year. On a comparable store sales basis, sales increased 0.2%. eCommerce sales grew 42.8% for the period, which contributed 1.8% of the comparable store sales increase.
Belk’s second quarter net income increased 0.3% to $30.6 million compared to the same prior-year period. Net income year-to-date was $49.9 million compared to $58.7 million for the same 26-week period last year.
Belk also announced a major expansion of its eCommerce distribution and fulfillment center in Jonesville, SC, representing a $47 million investment to expand the facility’s footprint by 50% and add 20 new jobs. The expansion, which is expected to be completed in January 2015, will add more than 345,000 square feet of newly constructed space to the 515,000-square-foot building and will include automating the facility and up fitting it with conveyor systems and other equipment. Total employment at the facility is expected to grow to 314 by the end of 2015.
Belk opened a new 29,000-square-foot home store at Friendly Center in Greensboro, NC, on July 25, 2014, across the street from its 140,000-square-foot main store, which is undergoing a $9.2 million renovation to create the company’s first flagship store in the Triad area. The store’s grand reopening is set for October 15, 2014.
Belk is also completing flagship store expansion and remodeling projects this fall in Mt. Pleasant, SC (Mt. Pleasant Town Centre) and Hoover, AL (Riverchase Galleria), and will open a new flagship store in Huntsville, AL (Bridge Street Town Centre) and a new fashion store in Denham Springs, LA (Juban Crossing), with grand openings set for October 15.