Tim Belk, chairman and chief executive officer of Belk, Inc., said, “Comparable sales grew 3.5 percent in the quarter, aided by colder weather and the investments we have made in the business, including store remodels, eCommerce and supply chain.
"November is the ‘go live’ month for a new technology platform which includes replacement of much of our IT infrastructure and a new merchandising system. In addition, we are testing technology to fulfill belk.com orders from stores to support our digital business, which grew 45 percent in the quarter. These investments will add expense and impact earnings over the next 18 months.”
Net sales for the 13-week period increased 2.8 percent to $860.7 million compared to the prior-year period. Comparable store sales grew for the 15th consecutive quarter with a 3.5 percent increase. The sales increase for the period resulted primarily from a continuation of strong eCommerce sales and execution of the company’s key strategies.
Merchandise categories achieving the highest growth rate for the quarter were contemporary sportswear, shoes, accessories, men’s and kid’s apparel. The company’s eCommerce sales increased 44.8 percent for the third quarter, which contributed 1.5 percent of the comparable store sales increase.
Year-to-date sales totaled $2.72 billion, an increase of 3.9 percent compared to the same
39-week period last year. On a comparable store sales basis, sales for the 39-week period increased 4.0 percent. eCommerce sales grew 52.8 percent for the period, which contributed 1.5 percent of the comparable store sales increase.
Net income for the third quarter was $3.6 million compared to $11.1 million for the same prior-year period. Net income excluding non-comparable items was $4.6 million for the period compared to $9.8 million for the same prior-year period. A detailed reconciliation of net income to net income excluding non-comparable items is provided at the end of this release. The decrease was primarily the result of expenses associated with the company’s investments in strategic initiatives during the period.
Net income for the year-to-date was $62.2 million compared to $78.8 million for the same 39-week period last year. Net income excluding non-comparable items was $63.6 million compared to $76.7 million for the same prior-year period.
Belk previously announced that it will open two new flagship stores next year at Dallas Galleria and Bridge Street Town Center in Huntsville, Ala. Belk at Friendly Center in Greensboro, N.C. and Belk of Mount Pleasant Town Centre in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., are also being expanded and remodeled as part of their conversion to flagship stores. In addition, the current flagship store at Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, Ala. will undergo a major remodeling.
On September 25, Belk announced a new partnership with denim experts Chip & Pepper Foster and the launch of an exclusive line – Chip & Pepper California – that offers trend-setting, premium denim in 100 Belk locations.
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