published Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Belk plans $4 million mall revamp

Audio clip

Catharine Wells

Belk will start a $4 million remodeling of its two Hamilton Place stores, officials said Wednesday.

“This major renovation is a sign of Belk’s ongoing commitment to be the department store of choice in Chattanooga,” manager Chris Manning said.

As part of the remodeling, the company plans to shift merchandise and consolidate its men’s and home goods store to one level and lease the second floor, according to the retailer.

“Our feeling is we will have a stronger merchandise presentation,” said company spokesman Ralph Pitts.

He said leasing plans for the store’s top floor aren’t complete.

Both Belk stores will remain open during the remodeling, with grand reopenings slated for Oct. 13, according the company.

Hamilton Place spokeswoman Catharine Wells said she’s happy about the investment by Belk into its stores.

“We look forward to the grand reopening,” she said.

According to Charlotte, N.C.,-based Belk, the work will update the stores’ interior design, decor and display fixtures.

“The goal of the project is to give a fresh and exciting look that will enhance our the selling environment and make shopping more convenient and enjoyable,” Mr. Manning said.

The children’s departments will be relocated from the men’s, home and children’s store into the women’s unit, the company said. That store will continue to house all women’s apparel, accessories and cosmetics.

The juniors area will receive a major overhaul and shift from the first level to the top floor of the women’s store.

ABOUT BELK

The company is the nation’s largest privately owned mainline department store with 306 Belk stores in 16 Southern states.

The remaining men’s and home store areas will consolidate to the lower level of its building, the company said.

Mr. Manning said customers will see improvements in the ladies shoes, handbags, jewelry and accessories areas.

He said the stores will continue to offer top national brands, Belk’s private label merchandise and a Belk & Co. Fine Jewelers Shop.

Staff size is expected to remain the same, Mr. Pitts said.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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