Not all department store retailers are closing stores.
Charlotte, North Carolina-based Belk said it plans to open three new stores, part of a nearly $40 million investment in store remodels, capital improvements and new store openings in 2017.
The first two of the new stores will open on October 11, 2017, at Mullins Colony shopping center, Evans, Georgia, and at Greenwood Mall, Bowling Green, Kentucky. The third store will open in 2018, at Valley Mall Hagerstown, Maryland. The new stores will focus on the customer experience through a variety of ways, including a "buy online, pick up in store" service, phone charging stations and a service desk at the store entrance for quick, convenient access to services such as gift wrapping, returns and Belk Rewards Card payments.
In 2017, Belk also plans to remodel 12 existing stores across its 16-state footprint, an investment of nearly $10 million. An additional $15 million in funding will be used for capital improvements such as parking lots, paint and roofing.
"We've been successful in making a personal connection between our brand and our customers," said Lisa Harper, CEO, Belk, which operates 292 stores. "Our customers truly believe they know us and we are a part of their community; and they feel Belk is their store. We want to provide that level of personal connection in every community we enter."
Harper, the former CEO of Hot Topic and Gymboree Corp., took the reins of privately owned Belk in July 2016, becoming the first one outside the Belk family to run the company. She succeeded the retiring Tim Belk, who had served as CEO of the chain since 2004.
Belk was founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk. The long-time family-owned company was acquired by Sycamore Partners in a $3 billion deal at the end of 2015.