Belk earnings take a dip; candle shop to open in downtown Charleston

Belk is adding onto its Mount Pleasant Towne Centre location to make it a "flagship" store.

Belk, the South's largest department store, had a rough start to its financial year, which began in March.

The Charlotte-based retailer reported that its net income for the three-month period ending May 3 fell 32 percent to $19.3 million from the same stretch last year.

The company said the decline was related to its more aggressive investments in "strategic initiatives" during the period.

One such investment is the conversion of several of its department stores into flagships.

The retailer is in the midst of remodeling and expanding a handful of stores across the Southeast, including the Mount Pleasant Towne Centre location, which the company expects to complete this fall.

Locally, Belk also has stores in Citadel Mall, Northwoods Mall and Summerville.

Candlefish, a candle and gift shop, has leased a 2,300-square-foot space at 71 Wentworth St., behind Rangoni Shoes at the King Street corner.

The shop will likely open this fall, according to Buddy Bebergal and Kit Regnery of Carolina Commercial Real Estate, who handled the lease.

The locally made Rewined candles will stock the shelves, along with Candlefish's own brand of candles, according to Molly Keeler, spokeswoman for Candlefish. Customers will also be able to sign up for candlemaking classes, where drinks and refreshments will be served.

OfficeMax in North Point Plaza at 7400 Rivers Ave. in North Charleston closed Saturday.

The office supply retailer was acquired by Office Depot Inc. last year, and the company announced last month that it would close 400 stores to reduce overlap in areas that had both stores in close proximity to each other. North Charleston's Office Depot store at 7250 Rivers Ave., a half-mile from the former OfficeMax, will remain open.