Belk Updates Branding, Tests Security

Nov 04, 2010

By George Anderson

Belk is looking to shake things up.

Last month the regional department store chain announced a $70 million rebranding effort that included a new logo, tagline and ad campaign.

“Our new brand clearly communicates what our company is today and what we aspire to be in the future,” Tim Belk, chairman and CEO of the company, said in a statement. “While we will continue to meet the needs of our traditional and classic customers, we are changing our brand and expanding our assortments to attract new customers who are looking for modern, updated brands and styles. Our vision is for the ‘modern, Southern woman to count on Belk first – for her, for her family, for life.'”

Johnny Belk, president and chief operating officer, added, “We’ve been working hard in recent years to establish Belk as the brand leader, not only in cosmetics, but also in dresses, shoes, costume jewelry, accessories and denim. We felt the time was right to expand our profile and realign our corporate image to better reflect the kind of stores we operate today. Re-branding happens only once in a generation, and our recent strong financial performance and balance sheet have enabled us to make significant investments in the company to position Belk for long term growth and success.”

Belk’s same-store sales were up 4.6 percent for the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2009. Net income was up almost 32 percent for the chain during the period.

Recently, the department store announced plans to conduct a 49-store pilot to test a new security system that would allow the company’s loss prevention staff to monitor in-store activity more effectively from a central location.

According to a Jackson Sun report, the system deploys cameras around the store to focus on shoppers as they look at merchandise. Security personnel are trained to identify potential shoplifting suspects “based on certain observed behaviors of customers and others in the store.”

Discussion Questions: Is Belk on the right track? Are there lessons that other regional department stores can take from the Belk experience?

  • Belk monitored from N.C. – The Jackson Sun
  • Belk, Inc. Launches New Corporate Identity: “Modern. Southern. Style.” – Belk, Inc.
  • Belk, Inc. Reports Second Quarter Operating Results – Belk, Inc.
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    6 Comments on "Belk Updates Branding, Tests Security"

    Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
    Bill Emerson
    Bill Emerson
    11 years 7 months ago

    Too often, companies will change their logo and jingle without addressing the fundamental value equation and operating model. You have to hand it to Belks’ management team for doing it the “right” way. In an extraordinarily tough environment, they have produced a solid increase in revenue and a strong jump in profitability. Their move to rebrand comes after they have apparently laid the foundation for growth.

    The department store model faces huge challenges to stay relevant and competitive with the Macys colossus. Hopefully Belks will be able to continue their success.

    Ryan Mathews
    11 years 7 months ago

    Can you spell “G – A -P”?

    Cathy Hotka
    11 years 7 months ago

    Belk is unique, and will be very successful here. It continues to innovate, and it has a clear understanding of its core customer. Watch for continued upticks in same-store sales!

    Ed Rosenbaum
    11 years 7 months ago

    Belk’s branding and modernizing will bring in the curiosity seekers who will spend some money while in the stores. I like the fact their same store numbers were up for the first half of the year.

    I am reminded that Stein Mart, a southern regional brand now more national, once had a fantastic advertising campaign using shoppers as spokespeople. They changed advertising companies who changed the ads and business took a nose dive. Belk, beware and make sure you have done your homework.

    Mark Johnson
    Mark Johnson
    11 years 7 months ago

    Looks like the old NBC Peacock.

    Anne Howe
    11 years 7 months ago

    Hooray for Belk. It appears they did the homework necessary to win with the new branding. I used to think their logo looked like the kind of writing one was supposed to have on a wedding invitation. Now it looks very fresh and almost perky!

    As always, I’m an advocate for both the numbers and the shopper. The numbers are strong and I wish them success in the future. I hope they are keeping up the conversations with shoppers and have some kind of segmentation strategy in place. Maybe they can even convince those genteel older southern belles I see in their stores to feel perky again!

    In a past life with Hanes Hosiery, I was always impressed with Belk’s ability and willingness to perform store-by-store SKU rationalization with the mission of making sure their best customers did NOT ever find out-of-stocks. We did a lot of co-branded shopper marketing way back in the early ’90s with spectacular results!


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