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CHARLOTTE, NC-Locally based Belk Inc. posted a loss of $213 million during its fiscal year ended Jan. 31. The regional department store chain blames the loss on a $326-million goodwill impairment charge, plus $36.1 million in other charges.

Without those charges, Belk says it would have earned $53.1 million for 2008-09, though that is down substantially from $95.7 million earned the previous fiscal year. Sales for the 307-store chain were down 8.5% over the year, totaling $3.5 billion.

“Last year’s results reflect one of the most difficult economic and business environments in our company’s history, yet we remain financially strong and in a position to withstand the downturn and improve results when the economy recovers,” CEO Tim Belk stated in a release. He noted that the company ended its latest fiscal year with $260 million cash with no borrowings against its credit line.

Belk, which operates in 16 Southern states, was founded in 1888 in Monroe, NC. It is the largest family owned department store chain in the US, now in its third generation of leadership. The chain opened eight stores over the past year, with plans to open three locations and expand three existing stores this year.

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