CHARLOTTE, N.C.-Belk Inc. posted a 43.5 percent increase in net income, to $183.1 million, for its fiscal year 2012 ending on Jan. 28.
The bottom line grew measurably blacker for the department-store retailer thanks to an increase in sales, improved margins and expense leverage. Net sales rose 5.3 percent to $3.7 billion, including a 5.5 percent gain in same-store sales. Gross margin rose 46 basis points to 33.5 percent, and selling, general and administrative expenses, while increasing 2.6 percent in dollars, fell 67 basis points as a percentage of sales to 25.4 percent.
Calling last year “one of the strongest ever for Belk,” Tim Belk, chairman and CEO, said the strong results stemmed from the company’s investments in its business. During the fiscal year, Belk relocated its Corinth, Miss., store to an expanded and renovated building in the same center; expanded and remodeled stores in Statesboro, Ga., and Monroe, N.C.; and remodeled stores here and in Cary, N.C., Tupelo, Miss., New Bern, N.C., Dublin, Ga., Vicksburg, Miss., Richlands, Va., and Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Belk is also planning to open a new fulfillment center for its e-commerce business. Located in Jonesville, S.C., the new facility measures 515,000 square feet and is expected to generate 124 new jobs over the next five years.