Business Briefs

Belk takes big 1st quarter hit

Posted May 28, 2009

— Belk, Inc. reported a dismal fiscal first quarter. The Charlotte-based retailer saw its net income drop to $500,000. The same period in the prior year saw net income of $5.1 million.

The company blames the massive decline in earnings on a continued weakness in consumer retail spending and a lower gross profit rate. Belk's first quarter net sales were $760.9 million. This compared to net sales of $817.3 million during the same period last year.

“First quarter results were in line with our expectations," said Tim Belk, chairman and chief executive officer of Belk, Inc. "Although results continue to reflect the weakened economy, we have begun to see some stabilization in the operating environment, which is positive. We will maintain our focus on managing expenses and inventories while delivering a compelling shopping experience to our customers. Our balance sheet remains strong with more than $250 million of cash at the end of the quarter, almost twice the amount as in the same prior-year period.”

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