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Belk 2Q Profit Rises

Improved margins and cost controls helped Belk overcome softer sales and a deliver a 14.6% boost in net income during the second quarter.

The regional department store report $9.4 million in net income for the quarter ended Aug. 1 compared to a profit of $8.2 million in the year-ago period.

Sales at the 307-until retailer fell 8.3% to $760.3 million, with comps off 9.4%. Belk cited lower sales volume and the shift of state sales tax holidays in some markets from July to August.

"While sales results reflected a continued weakness in consumer spending for the period, we were pleased to deliver increased profitability and a significantly improved cash position," said Tim Belk, chairman and ceo.

For the first half of the fiscal year, profit fell 24.8% to 10.0 million. Sales dropped 7.6% to $1.52 billion, with comps down 8.5%.

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