Belk Boosts Profit

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Improved margins helped pump profit handsomely at Belk Inc. during the second quarter.
     Net income rose 31.9% to $12.4 million for the quarter ended July 31 at the privately held company.
     Sales rose 3.6% to $787.7 million, with comps up 4.1%.
     "Customer response to fresh fashions produced solid same-store sales gains. We were pleased to see second quarter sales trends maintaining at healthy margins. Denim, shoes and dresses were the best performing categories, and our men's business was also strong," said Tim Belk, chairman and ceo.
     For the first half, net income increased to $36.8 million compared to $10.0 million for the same 26-week period last year. Net income excluding non-comparable items was $36.5 million compared to $10.1 million for the same 26-week period last year.
     Belk is in the process of remodeling four stores: Hamilton Place Mall, Chattanooga, Tenn., Turtle Creek Mall in Hattiesburg, Miss., University Mall in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Hupps Mill Plaza in South Boston, Va. They will hold grand reopenings Oct. 13.

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