Belk profits inch up

Profits and sales at Charlotte-based Belk, Inc. rose less than 1 percent during the company’s second quarter compared to the same quarter last year, Belk reported Thursday.

Total sales at Belk inched up 0.8 percent, to $907 million. Profits ticked up 0.3 percent, to $30.6 million. Sales at stores open a year or more, considered a key indicator of a retailer’s health, rose 0.6 percent.

“While the beginning of the quarter was soft, sales trends improved during the quarter with July being the strongest month,” said CEO Tim Belk, in a statement. “Merchandising margins were higher than last year with lower inventories, which positions the company well for the fall season. Digital continues to be our fastest growing business.”

Belk is the largest privately-held department store company, operating 299 stores in mostly Southeastern states.