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Bon-Ton Lags Less in Q3

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Store remodels and expansions in 10 states along with spending on ecommerce and supply chain improvements took a bite out of Belk Inc.'s net income during the third quarter, although sales and comps both made gains.
     Net income for the quarter ended Nov. 2 fell to $3.6 million compared to $11.1 million during the year-ago period. When non-comparable items are taken into account, net income narrowed to $4.6 million compared to $9.8 million in last year's 3Q.
     Sales rose 2.8% to $860.7 million, with a bit boost coming from the 45% jump in ecommerce sales. Same-store sales were up 3.5%, the company's 15th consecutive quarter of positive comp growth. Home was not among the category leaders during the period.
     "November is the ‘go live' month for a new technology platform which includes replacement of much of our IT infrastructure and a new merchandising system," said Tim Belk, chairman and ceo. "In addition, we are testing technology to fulfill orders from stores to support our digital business, which grew 45% in the quarter. These investments will add expense and impact earnings over the next 18 months.
     Year-to-date, net income dropped 21$ to $62.2 million. Sales increased 3.9% to $2.72 billion, with ecommerce sales up 52.8%. Same-store sales rose 4.0%.

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