Belk plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but stores will remain open

Photo courtesy Belk

The Belk department store chain announced this week it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and enter into a restructuring agreement with majority owner Sycamore Partners. 

Stores will remain open and Belk plans to continue normal operations throughout the process, the company said in a news release.

“Customers will continue to receive the quality merchandise and service they expect when shopping at Belk’s stores across the southeast and online,” the release said. “The infusion of new capital is expected to support Belk’s continued investment in strategic initiatives, including delivering a seamless omnichannel shopping experience and expanding Belk’s product offerings in Home Goods, Outdoor and Wellness.”

The Charlotte-based company said it has received financing commitments for $225 million in new capital from Sycamore, KKR and Blackstone, along with some of its existing lenders, CNBC reported.

Belk, which opened its first store in 1888, hopes to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy by the end of February. Belk has an Outer Banks store in the Dare Centre in Kill Devil Hills.

“Belk has a 130-year legacy of providing quality products at great prices,” said Lisa Harper, Belk CEO. “Like all retailers navigating COVID-19, our priority has been the safety of our associates, customers and communities. As the ongoing effects of the pandemic have continued, we’ve been assessing potential options to protect our future.

“We’re confident that this agreement puts us on the right long-term path toward significantly reducing our debt and providing us with greater financial flexibility to meet our obligations and to continue investing in our business, including further enhancements and additions to Belk’s omnichannel capabilities.”

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Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at kpugh@jammediallc.com