John Belk dies at 87
John Belk, chairman emeritus of Belk Inc., and former mayor of Charlotte, N.C., died in his home on Friday at the age of 87.
Belk served as the ceo of his namesake department store, founded by his father in 1888, for 50 years until 2004, when his nephew Tim Belk succeeded him.
During his tenure, he has made Belk into the largest privately held U.S. department store retailer. The store focuses on accommodating customers with selection, quality and customer service.
Even in passing, Belk made a difference. The family requested that the memorials be made to the John M. Belk Educational Endowment or a charity of their choice. More than 1,200 people paid tribute.
He is survived by his wife, Claudia Watkins Belk; daughter, Mary Claudia Belk Pilon; brothers Irwin Belk and Henderson Belk; sister, Sarah Belk Gambrell and three grandchildren.
Borders names new cio
ANN ARBOR, Mich. Borders Group announced today that Susan Harwood has joined the company as cio. She reports to Borders Group ceo George Jones.
Prior to joining Borders, Harwood served as vp of information technology at Books-A-Million Inc. since 2001, where she was responsible for all information technology operations for the 200-store retail chain and its subsidiaries. From 1995 through 2001, Harwood was with Crown Books, where she began working as an independent consultant and advanced through a series of information technology management positions including director of systems planning, director of corporate systems, and vp of information technology and cio, a post she held from 1998 through 2001. Previous to Crown, Harwood was a senior analyst and project leader for Circuit City Stores from 1990 to 1994.
At Borders, Harwood is responsible for the overall vision, strategic direction and tactical delivery of all information technology systems and solutions to support the company’s business operations, which include over 1,200 Borders and Waldenbooks stores worldwide as well as distribution facilities and the company’s corporate headquarters. She spearheads all information technology initiatives, including merchandising and warehouse management systems, and is responsible for the company’s technology infrastructure and for driving emerging technologies. In addition, Harwood plays a key role in leading technology supporting the ongoing development of Borders.com, the proprietary e-commerce site that the company will launch in the first quarter of 2008.
Housing market hurts Lowe’s comps
MOORESVILLE, N.C. Lowe’s today reported net earnings of $1.02 billion for the quarter ended Aug. 3, a 9% increase over the same period a year ago. Diluted earnings per share increased 11.7% to 67 cents from 60 cents in the second quarter of 2006. For the six months ended Aug. 3, net earnings declined 1% to $1.76 billion while diluted earnings per share increased 1.8% to $1.15.
Sales for the quarter increased 5.8% to $14.2 billion, up from $13.4 billion in the second quarter of 2006. For the six months ended Aug. 3, sales increased 4.1% to $26.3 billion. Comparable-store sales for the second quarter declined 2.6% and declined 4.4% in the first half of 2007.
“Despite the external pressures impacting our results, our continued focus on serving customers and executing our initiatives produced comparable store sales within our guidance range,” explained Robert Niblock, Lowe’s chairman and ceo. “Solid gross margin gains drove earnings that exceeded our guidance.
Niblock also cited economic issues, such as the housing market, as reasons for the companies performance. “Markets in California and Florida, generally considered most pressured by housing, continue to perform significantly worse than average; markets in the Northeast, while still producing negative comparable-store sales, are showing encouraging signs of improvement; and the many areas of the country where housing did not accelerate at an unsustainable rate over the past several years delivered positive comparable store sales. As expected, many of the difficult comparisons we faced during the last four quarters are beginning to lessen as we cycle hurricane recovery spending and deflationary price pressures from lumber and plywood. “