Belk Inc.’s first-quarter profits expanded 26.3 percent as it kept increases in expenses below the 7.2 percent growth in sales.
In the three months ended April 28, the Charlotte, N.C.-based department store chain reported net income of $40.3 million versus year-ago profits of $31.9 million. Operating income grew at a 31.8 percent pace, to $75.4 million from $57.2 million.
Revenues grew to $909.8 million from $848.6 million as same-store sales increased 7.4 percent and gross margin ticked up to 33.8 percent of sales from 33.7 percent in the year-ago period.
“First-quarter sales were above expectation,” said Tim Belk, chairman and chief executive officer of the company. “Color in the assortment has been a powerful story this spring. We were well positioned with inventory in early March, and our customers responded.”
Belk, the largest privately held department store firm in the U.S., cited strong performances in its women’s sportswear, men’s and home businesses.
Two new lines of private label merchandise for men were introduced during the quarter, Belk said. In addition to the casual-coastal Islander assortment, the retailer launched Black Brown 1826, a modern sportswear offering from Joseph Abboud developed with Lord & Taylor and carried exclusively by L&T since 2008.
Operational discipline was evident in the quarterly results. Cost of goods sold rose 7.1 percent, to $602.5 million, while selling, general and administrative costs were up just 1.4 percent, to $232.9 million. The combination of the two categories was up 5.5 percent to $835.4 million.
Belk, which operates 303 stores in 16 Southeastern states, said it will spend $75 million this year to expand or remodel 29 stores, included the remodeling of 13 stores, the expansion and remodeling of four others and the expansion and remodeling of footwear and jewelry department in another 10. Two stores are being relocated.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)