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First quarter sales above expectation – Belk CEO

31
May '12
Belk Inc. announced operating results for its fiscal first quarter ended April 28, 2012.

Tim Belk, chairman and chief executive officer of Belk, Inc., said, "First quarter sales were above expectation. Color in the assortment has been a powerful story this spring. We were well positioned with inventory in early March, and our customers responded. "

Net Sales
Net sales for the 13-week period increased 7.2 percent to $909.8 million compared to the prior-year period. On a comparable store basis, sales increased 7.4 percent. The increase was largely a result of a continuation of improved sales trends and execution of the company's key strategic initiatives. Women's sportswear, men's and home were among the merchandise categories achieving the highest growth rate for the quarter.

Net Income
Net income increased 26.3 percent to $40.3 million for the quarter compared to the prior-year period. The increase was primarily a result of higher sales and margin along with improved expense leverage. Net income excluding non-comparable items increased 26.0 percent to $39.7 million for the period compared to 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.

Investments in Strategic Initiatives
Belk has planned investments totaling approximately $600 million over a five-year period that began in fiscal year 2011 in key strategic initiatives including store remodels and service improvements; eCommerce; information technology; merchandise planning and processes; marketing and branding; and improved sourcing practices.

Store Expansions and Re-modelings
Belk will invest approximately $75 million in the current fiscal year for expansion and remodeling projects in 29 stores. Two stores will be relocated into new store buildings, four stores will be expanded and remodeled, 13 stores will be remodeled, and shoe departments and fashion jewelry departments will be expanded and remodeled in 10 stores.


Private Brand Launches
During the first quarter, the company introduced two new lines of private brand merchandise for men - Black Brown 1826, a line of modern men's sportswear offered in partnership with designer Joseph Abboud and Lord & Taylor, and Islander, a new modern, Southern brand for men inspired by the casual island and coastal lifestyle prevalent in many Belk markets.

Belk, Inc. Stock Self Tender Offer Results Announced
On March 28, 2012, Belk's Board of Directors approved a self-tender offer to purchase shares of the company's common stock at a price of $40.80 per share. The tender offer was initiated on April 23, 2012, and on May 22, 2012, Belk accepted for purchase 2,501,145 shares of common stock for approximately $102.0 million.

Belk, Inc. is the nation's largest privately owned mainline department store company with 303 Belk stores located in 16 Southern states. The company was founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk in Monroe, N.C., and is in the third generation of Belk family leadership.

Belk Inc


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