Belk's profit falls despite jump in e-commerce
Charlotte-based Belk Inc. had a rough first quarter, net profit falling more than 30% — to $19.3 million — compared with the same period last year. But there is good news.
As we mentioned last October, the family-owned department-store chain is pouring money into e-commerce, hiring Ivy Chin from QVC to oversee e-commerce and digital sales. Despite a major hiccup on Black Friday, the investment seems to be paying off. Sales from Belk.com increased 42.4% in the first quarter compared with last year. That bolstered same-store sales by 1.8%.
“First quarter sales comparisons were challenging due to our large increases last year and the soft selling environment this year,” Chairman and CEO Tim Belk said in a statement. “We did, however, manage to retain most of last year’s gains while experiencing continued growth in our online business. Although the investments we are making in the company will continue to impact our short-term profitability, we are building a solid foundation for long-term growth and success. We recently increased our regular dividend and completed a stock repurchase to reflect our commitment to drive strong returns for our shareholders.”