Belk Inc. achieved double-digit earnings growth in the second quarter as strength in e-commerce helped it overcome decelerating retail conditions.
In the three months ended Aug. 3, net income expanded 11.3 percent to $30.5 million from $27.4 million in the 2012 quarter. Excluding onetime gains and charges in both periods, profits rose 14 percent to $30.9 million.
Revenues increased 3.6 percent to $899.5 million from $867.9 million in the prior-year period, with comparable sales up 3.2 percent. E-commerce sales, not specified, were up 48.5 percent during the quarter, accounting for 1.3 points of the comp increase. Gross margin pulled back a fraction, landing at 33.1 percent of sales from 33.3 percent.
“Although we continue to see a softening retail environment, we are pleased to report another quarter of sales and earnings growth driven in part by the investments we are making in the business,” said Tim Belk, chairman and chief executive officer. “While those investments impact our short-term profitability, we are confident they will position us well for the future.”
The Charlotte, N.C.-based company, the largest privately held department store in the U.S., is in the midst of its 125th anniversary celebration and has spread its investments among merchandising, marketing, branding, e-commerce and service initiatives. The company currently has 301 stores in 16 Southern states and is looking to hit $6 billion in revenues in five years. It has continued to update its stores and, under the marketing theme “Modern. Southern. Style.,” has picked up its merchandising and marketing game with expanded exclusive offerings, such as Cynthia Cynthia Rowley for women and Made Cam Newton for men, and greater visibility, including its sponsorship of the 12th season of “Project Runway.”
The company identified men’s and children’s apparel, activewear and women’s contemporary sportswear and dresses as standout categories during the quarter.
For the first half of the year, net income fell 13.3 percent to $58.7 million as revenues grew 4.4 percent to $1.86 billion. Comps for the six months were up 4.2 percent, greater than the quarterly pace.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion