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.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@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