Belk Booms in Q2

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NEW YORK – Belk Inc.’s second quarter was marked by sharply higher earnings and an acquisition-enhanced sales increases.

Net income for the three months ended July 29 was $26.3 million, 52.9% above the $17.2 million registered during last year’s comparable period. Net sales increased 21.5 percent to $732 million, powered by new stores, the earlier acquisition of Proffitt’s and McRae’s from Saks Incorporated and a 4% same-store sales increase.

Earlier this month, Charlotte, NC-based Belk agreed to buy Parisian Stores from Saks for $285 million, a transaction scheduled to be completed on Oct. 2. Integration of the 38 stores is expected to take about 18 months with re-branding to the Belk’s nameplate occurring during the third quarter of next year.

Belk has also agreed to buy Migerobe Inc., taking over ownership of the franchise jewelry operation previously operated at Belk stores on a leased basis. Additional jewelry departments are planned for the future.

“We are seeing strong sales and margin gains in the existing Belk stores as well as in the newly acquired Proffitt’s and McRae’s stores,” said Tim Belk, chairman and chief executive officer of Belk, in a statement. “This combination gave us confidence as we pursued the Migerobe and Parisian acquisitions.”

In the six-month period, net income was up 10.4% to $45.8 million while sales rose 26.8% to $1.48 billion.

Belk is the largest privately owned departments store chain in the U.S., operating 277 department stores in 16 states, primarily in the Southeast. It discloses its earnings information because of public debt.

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