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Report: Belk investing in IT upgrade

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — Belk is investing $150 million to boost online sales and upgrade its IT systems, The Charlotte Observer reported.

The department store operator plans to focus on improving its e-commerce functions and replace its current systems for ordering and allocating merchandise, according to the report.

Belk has sought to boost its online presence in recent years to keep up with competitors in a marketplace where online sales are growing rapidly.

Belk, the nation’s largest privately owned department store, currently has a text-message system customers can sign up for to be alerted about deals. But customers currently cannot shop on their smartphones. Belk hopes to roll out mobile shopping applications next year.

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Brown Shoe profit tops estimates

BY CSA STAFF

St. Louis — Brown Shoe Co., parent of Famous Footwear and Naturalizer shoe stores, said Tuesday that its fiscal third-quarter profit rose to $18.6 million from $16.3 million, topping analysts estimates.

Sales in the quarter ended Oct. 30 rose 14.5% to $716.1 million, from $625.6 million.

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Zale’s loss widens

BY CSA STAFF

Dallas — Zale Corp.’s first-quarter loss widened as a debt-related charge hit the bottom line but a slight drop in revenue was offset by higher margins. The jewelry retailer reported a loss of $97.9 million, up from $59.7 million a year earlier.

Sales fell 0.7% to $327 million, from $329 million. Same-store sales in the quarter ended Oct. 31 fell 1.1%.

“Since February 2010 when we began implementing our turnaround plan, each fiscal quarter has shown improvement," said CEO Theo Killion. "The second fiscal quarter will provide an important barometer of the progress we’re making in our turnaround.”

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