Add Southern chain Belk to the list of department stores looking to retool their fashion offerings (you may recall that T.J.Maxx and KMart have already done the same). Today, the company released its new logo (mission statement: “To satisfy the modern Southern lifestyle like no one else, so that our customers get the fashion they desire and the value they deserve”), plans to revamp store layouts, and a new focus on shoes, clothes, and jewelry.
It’s been 43 years since the privately-held company, whose first store opened in 1888, went through a rebranding. While not expressly stated, Belk’s current goal is attract a younger (and more fashion-minded) generation of shoppers. In an interview with The Birmingham News, Belk exec Jan Clevenger said that, “it’s very easy to think about Belk as ‘the place where my mom shopped’ or ‘the place where my grandmom shopped.’”
CEO Tim Belk told WWD today, “While we are not walking away from the traditional customers, newer customers coming to shop our stores are looking for a more modern, trendier assortment.”
As branding across all channels—television, print, online, mobile—becomes increasingly important, stores are fine-tuning their look to appeal to a younger generation. And department stores now have to compete with an ever-widening range of retail outlets like Forever 21 or H&M both in price point and in trendiness.
The recession signaled the demise of many stores that were unable to make swift changes and tweaks in response to consumer demands. These days, keeping a close eye on what customers are actually buying — and listening to what they’d like to see in stores — is crucial to success.
There’s a lot of competition out there for chains like Belk — other department stores like Kohl’s, and J.C.Penney have already begun reworking their fashion offerings and renovating their stores. Attracting teens, a generation whose spending continues to rise, is now imperative for the success of these chains — and they know it. Thus far, a cooler-looking logo is certainly a step in the right direction for the company, whose sales are up almost 32% this year.