Belk Inc. generated a profit, versus a year-ago loss, and slowed the pace of its sales erosion in the fourth quarter. During the three months ended Jan. 30, the Charlotte, N.C.-based department store operator generated net income of $56.7 million versus a loss of $202.8 million in the 2008 quarter, when the company recorded about $324 million in pretax impairment charges. Sales declined 1.3 percent to $1.1 billion from $1.11 billion in the prior-year quarter, and gross margin improved to 34.3 percent of sales from 31.1 percent. For the full year, net income hit $67.1 million versus a prior-year loss of $213 million. Belk said that, excluding one-time items, such as $245.6 million in aftertax goodwill impairment charges in 2008, profits for the year would have been $95.2 million, 79.3 percent above the prior-year figure of $53.1 million. Sales fell 4.4 percent to $3.35 billion from $3.5 billion in fiscal 2008, and same-store sales decreased 4.6 percent. Gross margin improved to 32.1 percent of sales from 30.6 percent in the prior year. “We saw steadily improving sales trends in the third and fourth quarters of the year and are encouraged about our results, especially improvements in our merchandise margins,” said Tim Belk, chairman and chief executive officer of the company. The retailer didn’t furnish fourth-quarter results when it released year-end numbers Thursday, but figures were gleaned by subtracting results for the nine months from those for the fiscal year. Belk, the largest privately held department store company in the U.S., said Thursday that, in addition to its regular dividend of 40 cents a share, it would pay a special 40 cent a share dividend to holders of record Thursday. Additionally, the company has offered to buy back 2.88 million shares of common stock at $26 a share, beginning on or about April 21. Belk operates 306 department stores, most in the Southeast. The firm plans no additional stores this year.
To celebrate Pride 2018, @themarcjacobs released the #GratefulNotHateful campaign, a social media initiative aimed at extending Pride beyond the parade. Inspired by Jacobs’ everyday outlook, the campaign features Jacobs along with a group of models and social media stars who are members and supporters of the LGBT community, all seen wearing @marcbeauty’s Highliner Gel Eye Crayons in colors of the rainbow. Head to our Instagram stories to see close-ups of the liner. #wwdbeauty
Virgil Abloh’s dad Nee and Don Crawley, cofounder of RSVP Gallery, were some of the hometown crew at the Chicago-born designer’s debut show for Louis Vuitton. (📸: @jdiderich ) #wwdmens #louisvuitton #virgilabloh
About last night: @marycharteris and @adwoaaboah hit up Hyde Park for the Serpentine Galleries’ annual summer party held in partnership with @chanelofficial. Head to WWD.com to see more photos. #wwdfashion
“This is Paris, my first show. I’m all about democracy. If some kid shows up, flew from New Jersey to just be around, let’s get him a seat.” — @virgilabloh tells WWD’s @jdiderich ahead of his first show for @louisvuitton men’s. (📸: @alfredo_piola ) #wwdmens #virgilabloh #louisvuitton
“Kate Spade was a true fashion icon who brought joy to the lives of women around the world, and inspired women to live life to the fullest. We are dedicated to carrying on her legacy,” said Anna Bakst, brand president and chief executive officer of @katespadeny. The Kate Spade Foundation announced that it will be donating $1 million to suicide prevention and mental health awareness in tribute to the recent death of Kate Spade. Read more on WWD.com. #wwdnews (📷: @chinseephoto)
A first look at @virgilabloh’s sneakers for @louisvuitton. Abloh spoke to WWD about his debut collection for Louis Vuitton, creating @kendalljenner’s #metgala outfit and redefining the heritage brand. Read the full story on WWD.com. #wwdfashion 📷: @alfredo_piola)
The world’s largest producer of denim @iskodenim is sharing the strategy behind its product development process. Read our full interview with ISKO’s product development manager Baris Ozden on the company’s extensive research practices, upcoming denim trends and the latest material innovations on WWD.com. #iskodenim