SC business notebook, July 10

July 10, 2014 

Local & State

Belk plans $47 million distribution center expansion

Belk Inc. will invest $47 million to expand its Union County e-commerce distribution and fulfillment center for the second time since opening two years ago, according to a release from the S.C. Governor’s Office. The retailer will expand the facility by 50 percent, bringing it to 860,000 square feet, and will add 20 new jobs, boosting its number of employees in Jonesville to above 300. The expansion is expected to be completed in January.

The warehouse is owned by CPA:18 – Global, a non-traded affiliate of global real estate investment trust W.P. Carey Inc., and is being leased to Belk. The companies will make the investment together.

Wednesday’s announcement is in addition to the 170 jobs the department store retailer announced in December that it would hire by the end of 2015. For jobs, visit Belk’s careers page on its website and search for positions in Jonesville.

Italian roller bearings company bringing 50 jobs in new Colleton County Plant

An Italian company that makes roller bearings plans to open a plant in Colleton County, creating 50 jobs over the next five years. The plant in Walterboro will be the first American manufacturing operation for Meter Bearings Group of Torino, Italy.

The state Commerce Department and Gov. Nikki Haley’s office announced the new plant Wednesday. Production is expected to begin in September 2015.

The company designs and produces ball and cylindrical roller bearings. It has other plants in Italy and China and customer support operations in the United States and Germany.

Whole Foods opening store on Hilton Head Island later this month

Whole Foods Market will open July 30 on Hilton Head Island, the grocer announced Wednesday. The 30,000-square-foot store is located at the Plaza at Shelter Cove off William Hilton Parkway, in a building formerly occupied by Piggly Wiggly. It is the Austin, Texas-based company’s first store in Beaufort County.

Customers are invited to attend an 8 a.m. opening day celebration. The store will give away 100 gift cards valued between $5 and $500, according to a news release. Store hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Known for selling natural and organic products, the store will feature a coffee bar, a craft beer pouring station, eat-in and to-go meals, and nearly 1,000 types of beer and wine, the release said.

The store is hiring, and is expected to employ at least 100 people.

Nation & World

Positive corporate earnings lift stock market

Corporate earnings season got off to a positive start Wednesday, helping lift the stock market after two days of declines. The market opened higher and remained modestly higher throughout the day. Stocks climbed further after the Federal Reserve released minutes from its latest policy meeting in June.

The biggest gainer in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index was Alcoa. The aluminum giant’s earnings, which investors consider to be the official start of the quarterly corporate earnings season, came in well above Wall Street’s expectations. Alcoa earned $138 million, or 18 cents a share, compared with analysts’ estimates of 12 cents a share, according to FactSet. Alcoa rose 84 cents, or 6 percent, to $15.69.

As companies begin reporting their second-quarter results, investors will be looking for signs that the strengthening U.S. economy has translated into higher sales and profits. The next big name to report will be the major U.S. bank Wells Fargo, which reports Friday. The bank is one of the country’s biggest mortgage lenders, and investors will be looking for Wells’ outlook on the housing market.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 78.99 points, or 0.5 percent, to 16,985.61 Wednesday. The S&P 500 index rose 9.12 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,972.83 and the Nasdaq composite rose 27.57 points, or 0.6 percent, to 4,419.03. The Associated Press and The (Hilton Head) Island Packet contributed.

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