Belk laying off 111 at Pineville distribution center

Belk is laying off more than 100 workers at a Pineville e-commerce distribution and fulfillment center as the Charlotte-based department store chain expands a similar operation in Jonesville, S.C.

Belk decided not to renew its lease and will close the Pineville center in September, spokeswoman Jessica Graham said in a statement. The 111 employees there have been notified and can choose to relocate to Jonesville, about 75 miles southwest of Charlotte.

“This difficult decision was made only after a careful evaluation of our strategic growth plans and assessment that the facility does not allow for expansion needed to accommodate future growth,” Graham said.

The company sent a layoff notice to North Carolina officials this month.

Belk invested $42 million in the Jonesville distribution center in fiscal years 2014 and 2015, the company said. The footprint has expanded by two-thirds, and the company has upfitted conveyor systems and other equipment. Belk employs 137 at the facility.

The retailer’s online sales rose more than 42 percent in the fiscal year that ended in February 2014 and by 44 percent over the most recent holidays, Graham said.

The company posted a profit of $41.7 million on $2.7 billion of revenue in the first nine months of fiscal year 2015, which ended Jan. 31, according to securities filings. That compared to a profit of $62.3 million on similar revenue in the previous fiscal year.

Belk operates 300 stores in 16 Southern states. The company’s stock is privately held, largely still by the Belk family.

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