Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Belk buys Saks' Parisian stores

Note from Steve: You heard it here first


CHARLOTTE - Belk Inc. on Wednesday said it was buying Saks Inc.'s 38 Parisian department stores with locations in nine states in the Southeast and Midwest.

The Charlotte-based department store chain said it will pay $285 million for the ownership of the Parisian stores and will assume operating leases for leased locations. The stores had combined total sales last year of about $723 million. The deal, which has been approved by both boards of directors, is set to close Oct. 2, pending regulatory review.

Upon completion of the transaction, Belk will operate a total of 315 stores in 19 states, including two new Parisian stores set to open this fall.

"This is another excellent opportunity for Belk to expand its store base and further strengthen our market leadership in Alabama and other key markets within our existing footprint," said Tim Belk, chairman and CEO of the chain, said in a statement.

The department store plans to rebrand the acquired stores as Belk in the third quarter of 2007. The company will continue to operate the Parisian corporate offices and a distribution center through March 2007. Employees in those locations will be offered positions with Belk or severance packages.

Last year, Belk bought 47 Proffitt's and McRae's department stores from Saks and later branded 38 of them as Belk stores.

Wachovia Securities, the investment banking unit of Charlotte-based Wachovia Corp., advised Belk on the Parisian transaction.


  1. I think the name 'parisian' is prettier than the name 'belk.'

    you know me: i'm not going anywhere. dewitte must have taken that 'i'm moving to' part seriously. fun to think about, though....'cept for the heat.

  2. Parisian is a prettier name, but the stores weren't all that different form one another.

    I didn't figure you were going. You would have told me first before you posted it, I hope ;-)

  3. i have worked for both companies and Belk doesn't care for their associates at all. Now my job is at risk because we've been bought by this rinky dink little company. I predict they go bankrupt within 2 years

  4. I can’t speak from personal experience with them exactly, but my mom worked for Belk for many years in the ‘80s and ‘90s. They have a long way to go to be a perfect employer, but they’re no worse than any other competing retailer when it comes to treating their employees well.

    I think your job will be at risk if you work in a Parisian store in a mall that already contains Belk, or at Parisian headquarters, but if you work elsewhere in the company you should be okay. Belk did not fire massive amounts of people when it took over Proffitt’s/McRae’s, and it wouldn’t make economic sense to buy a chain to close down all its stores.

    I also have to speak to your “rinky dink” comment. Belk may not be as upscale as Parisian on the surface or outside the Carolinas, but they have connections with just about every upscale vendor that will sell to department stores. You should expect to see most of the same upmarket merchandise in the rebranded stores, if not more.

    Also, Belk is not going into bankruptcy over a 38-store acquisition. Their finances are strong enough to sustain the enlarged operation, and the merger will likely be a successful one. Have faith, my friend.

  5. I do work in a mall that already contains a Belk so I am indeed worried. But I know the benefits they offer are no where near as good as what McRaes and Parisian offered. The position I'm in now is a salary position making pretty nice money. The same position at Belk is hourly pay and not much per hour. Who knows? This may be a blessing in disguise, but as for me personally, I doubt it.

  6. Oh, and as far as the "rinky dink" comment I made earlier, I know some of the more northern stores already have the more high dollar merchandise that we carry, but in the mall I am in, Parisian is gorgeous and the Belk store looks like total crap. I guess that's why I have such a low opinion of them. Also, we have over 150 on staff. They have 50. Can't get much customer service with a skeleton crew like that and I'd hate to see our store become like that.

  7. You have to optimistic about things like this. I know how hard it seems right now when you could potentially be looking at the unemployment line or a reduction in salary. I've been there more times than I feel like talking about.

    But here's the thing. It's entirely possible that Belk will up their pay structure to retain good workers like yourself, or that a person with your experience could get promoted to a better position, or find work with another retailer that pays just as well or better than Parisian.

    Obviously this is just speculation, and I'm not trying to make light of your situation because I don't know the specifics, but things can and will work out. I have faith, and so should you :-)

  8. I think the smart thing for Belk to do is remodel and upgrade at your mall. Your store will likely become the women's store, while the Belk will turn into the Men's, Home and/or Children's Store. if you have good vendors at Parisian, you'll hold on to them with Belk.

  9. I'm hoping for the best, but Parisian doesn't know what's happening yet, and all my friends at Belk have flat out told me I'm going to lose my job. I've never been in this position and I'm scared to death. I was out of work for 4 months a while back. My profession is hard to find openings in and I love what I do. I guess all I can do is have faith, it's just hard right now.

  10. If you're good at what you do, you should land on your feet. Hopefully Belk (or somebody else) will see that.

  11. Thanks. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed for now. Thanks for listening to me vent. You've actually been a big help. :-)

  12. You're welcome. I'm glad I can help you.