Belk Earnings Drop 47%

Charlotte, N.C. Belk Inc. reported a 47% drop in net income to $95.7 million for its fiscal year ended Feb. 2. In fiscal 2007, the company earned $181.8 million.

The retailer attributes the decline to a decrease in gross margin in the second half of the year, a result of markdowns taken in response to the weakened economic environment. Belk also had increased selling, general and administrative expenses.

Net sales grew 3.8% to $3.82 billion, while same-store sales for the year fell 1.1%.

Fiscal 2008 had 52 weeks, compared with 53 weeks in fiscal 2007.

Belk opened 11 stores last year. The company plans to open eight stores this year. It also expects to expand four stores and renovate two.

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