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Lenox Square/Phipps Plaza

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What Belk seems to be doing is filling the department store void left behind with the Macy-izing and Dillard-ization of regional chains. As such, its stores fall more into the A-B-C and even D classifications while Dillard's and Macy's seem to be focusing on A and B stores and the C stores are in danger. Also, the "baggage" of C stores is more noticeable with Belk as such stores were called Lazarus, Horne's, Block's, Rich's, etc at pre-Macy's, Inc Federated while JB White, Gayfers, McAlpins, and others had those stores which Dillard's ultimately eliminated. I don't think it's a bad thing to have C stores if the market will sustain them, and Belk seems to be comfortable with that format.

Excellent post. Could you possibly elaborate a little more on the differences or characteristics between A, B, C & D stores?

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Most large retailers classify an A store as a large complete format that carries all assortments available to the retailers. For a department store this was traditionally the downtown flagship which largely disappeared, leaving the stores that anchor super regional malls such as Lenox and Mall of Georgia in this category. Typically this type store in located in metropolitan areas that exceed one million residents though some smaller metro can and do sustain stores of this category. Belk at SouthPark Mall in Charlotte would definitely be an A store for the chain, though I don't think Belk, Inc classifies their stores this way. JCPenney and Sear's used the A, B, C nomenclature and it came to be applied by retail observers and strategists as a generic term regarding store size, assortment, and market size. A large metro such as Atlanta can contain A, B, C stores depending on location, while smaller metros may be served by one or two stores fitting the A category and the majority of locations being B and C. Minor markets typically only support C size stores. B stores usually carry a broad but more limited assortment in a smaller store footprint than an A store-usually higher end merchandise is abbreviated or eliminated depending on demographics(and exclusivity contracts) and home furnishings is more limited. A and B store are usually two or more levels when referring to departments stores such as Belk, Dillard's, and Macy's and mass merchants such as Sear's and JCPenney. A C store is usually one level and focuses more on soft lines in the mid-range category and a decent selection of home furnishes limited to small appliances, fine china, etc. and very little in the way of electronics and furniture. A C store usually serves a neighborhood are a small city/town, os the lifestyle Orlando Belk and Avenue East and Avenue West Cobb County Belks would fall in this category. A D store would be very abbreviated, such as the Sears Brand Central or the old Sear's catalog stores before the elimination of the Sears Catalog. For Belk a store I would classify as a D store would serve the smallest markets in the Carolinas, often in a shopping center rather than a mall, the downtown Fuquay-Varina, NC store would fit this category for Belk, as one of the few remaining downtown store for Belk.

An outcome of Belk's acquistion of Proffit's in particular and McRae's and Parisian occasionally, is a mall has ended up with 2 Belk stores, one occupied by Belk originally, and the other by Proffit's, McRae's, or Parisian. Belk in Rome, GA and Dalton, GA are examples of Belk and Proffit's being anchors in the same malls. Both the Belk and Proffit's would have been C stores, but by occupying two anchor spots, one Belk becoming say Belk Women's and Children's and the other becoming Belk Men's and Home, the Belk at those malls would be boosted to a B store grade, due to increased merchandise assortment and store square footage, but serve a market that would traditionally only have a C store due to population of the market. The merchandising of these stores is dead center mid-market with no high end aspirations, the Polo and Nautica offerings are generally the more popular affordable lines, but Docker's, Levi's, etc. form the bread and butter of the clothing assortment for men, leaving the comparisons to JCPenney and Kohl's and even Goody's understandable.

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Internally, Belk used to use an A-B-C system, but at the time I was familiar with it (the 1990s), they used some even more detailed distinctions within those letter classifications. Generally, A stores were regional mall stores, B stores were community mall stores, C stores were downtown and strip mall stores.

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Ok, now what is the D classification for Belk? :dunno:

I'd say we had a D Belks here in Orlando once, in the Pine Hills Shopping Center which was built in the late 50's I believe. Up until the early 90's that little Belks survived in the worst neighborhood in Orange County (Pine Hills) That store was so tiny that it's now a Discount Auto Parts store, it's really strange looking because it has a high roof (one of those "false" second floors held up behind with beams to make the Belk sign rise above the rest of the shopping center.

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Ok, now Phipps Plaza is supposedly a "flagship", so I assume it would be a A store, but it looks like from everything being crammed in the store that it is a B store, and that's why so many Atlantan's are upset with Belk, because when they promised a flagship store, I assume they thought it would be similar to the Phipp's Nordstrom, or even a touch of SAKS in it.(NOTE: I did say just a touch).

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I have yet to go into Belk at Phipps. It's no surprise because I only went in Parisian maybe five times in the years they were there. The last time I have been in a Belks was last year, not long after it opened at NorthPoint. The last time I actually purchased something from Belk was when I was a freshman in college back in 199.....ummmm...not too long ago. *clears throat* It was a charming hunt scene picture that went well in my dorm room. I wonder if the Belk at Georgia Square Mall is still there.

Anyway, today I keep going down these memory lanes. Does anyone know how the Belk at Phipps is performing? Is it too soon to know? I'm really curious.

Edited by Lady Celeste

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The much hyped Y-3 Boutique in The Shops Around Lenox opened to great fanfare a couple of years ago. It's a hybrid upscale line of Japanese designer Yōji Yamamoto and Adidas, of which Atlanta was the first store.

Apparently the hype didn't work as Atlanta's Y-3 will now become merely an outlet for the newly established stores in New York and Miami. The NY and MIA stores will carry the new season, while Atlanta's store will carry past seasons and rejects.

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Has anyone heard about the following:

1 - That Valentino has signed a letter of intent for a store in Phipps?

2 - That Chanel has signed a letter of intent for a store in Lenox?

3 - That Bally of Switzerland is moving from Lenox to Phipps and will be replaced in Lenox by a Michael Kors boutique?

Edited by perimeter285

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Does anyone know how the Belk at Phipps is performing? Is it too soon to know? I'm really curious.
Belk hasn't broken out sales numbers for Phipps, but the general consensus is that the Parisian stores they kept are doing relatively well.

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That would contradict the consensus here then....the store looks like hell. Too much merchandise crammed in, stuff thrown around and not stocked, etc. The local "ladies who lunch" crowd in Buckhead are pretty uniformly disgusted and after their first look are staying away in droves, and the merchants at Phipps feel as though they were lied to.

This is in no way, shape or form any sort of "Flagship" in anyone's mind but the Belk people. Just goes to show you that they have no idea how to operate in this type of market. I love Charlotte, but Atlanta is not and hasn't been that type of market for 20 years or more. Someone didn't do very good due dilligence it would appear...............

I hope it's a complete failure so Barney's can take the space. Belk at Phipps indeed!

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Kicking Belk out won't make Barneys come.

Phipps would have gotten Barneys if it were meant to be instead of Belk and the way the economy is heading, Phipps will probably need Belk to survive through the times facing us in the near future. Yesterday's retail report was the worst yet, with almost only grocers and Wal-Mart posting gains with virtually no spending on clothing, even JCPenney was down. The latest report on the status of Americans debt is those earning 30K wouldn't be able to pay their bills if they missed one payday, those earnig over 70K wouldn't be able to pay their bills either by missing one pay check and the average upper income family has no savings and is living paycheck to paycheck, same as lower income. Pretty grim news.....

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Phipps is being looked at hard by Barney's right now, and they have basically been scouting Buckhead for a Flagship for the past few years. Belk landed by default at Phipps - that was never meant to be. As far as Phipps NEEDING Belk, that's funny. The truth of the matter is that nobody is shopping there now, if the economy goes even more South I don't see that changing anything. With all due respect metrowester, I don't think you understand this market. Orlando has come a LONG way, but we are on an entirely different level here. Consider Bloomingdales being yanked out of Millenium and being replaced by Belk. Then you may understand.

The simple fact of the matter is that all of these high-end retailers are flocking here at the moment, recession or not. In two years when all of these new venues start opening, hopefully the recession will be a distant memory. At any rate, retail spending IS being squeezed like you say - particularly in the mid-range stores. So far, it hasn't affected the luxury retailers.

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Consider Bloomingdales being yanked out of Millenium and being replaced by Belk. Then you may understand.
Bloomingdale's was replaced by JCPenney at Valley View Mall in Dallas several years ago. Things like that happen when the economy is bad.

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Not sure if Belk being in Phipps is/was "by default"; in my view Simon decided to go the route of not spending the money for a buyout of the lease figuring,incorrectly, that there was no other game in town.

Now with the SOB, there is competition for all of the previously unrepresented brands here in Atlanta. Simon wins the competition for Barneys by default-there was not a footprint big enough in the SOB scheme for a flagship,ie 40-60,000 square feet. However, with the problems at the Giorgio Armani boutique, Simon has to create an atmosphere in Phipps that will attract and retain the upper end retailers who wish to be in a mall environment.The Belk store does not add value to that type of atmosphere.

BTW, there will be some very well known and high end users who are going into the "Midtown mile' due to their desire NOT to be in a mall and not to be in Buckhead.

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Bloomingdale's was replaced by JCPenney at Valley View Mall in Dallas several years ago. Things like that happen when the economy is bad.

As I'm sure you are aware, that was an entirely different situation as Bloomingdale's completely pulled out of Dallas & Houston at the same time, along with Marshall Fields. North Dallas at that point in time was totally overbuilt, with Vally View & The Galleria almost across the street from each other - then the Texas economy tanked. JCPenney HQ's are right up the road, it happened to be a good fit and it made them look good for taking the Bloomies space. So far, we have been fortunate here in that things never have reached the extremes they did in Texas back in those days (i.e. overbuilt & tanked economy).

I stand by my original assertion in saying Belk at Phipps is a big mistake. You need to remember that there are still people in this town that haven't gotten over losing Rich's. We just don't cry, whine and protest like they do in Chicago. Belk at Phipps (to those that care about these things) is like a final slap in the face. We were promised something by Belk that never happened, Belk lied the the consumers of Atlanta and the merchants at Phipps, and now whatever possible shred of good will that could have existed is out of here. Belk is doomed to failure at this location.

Buckhead Betty has voted with her pocketpook, and she has told ALL of her friends. End of story.

Edited by johnatl

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Buckhead Betty has voted with her pocketpook, and she has told ALL of her friends. End of story.
If it's that definitive, why are you beating your drum so loud? Just sit back and let it happen. If truly no one is shopping at Belk at Phipps it will disappear soon enough.

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Phipps is being looked at hard by Barney's right now, and they have basically been scouting Buckhead for a Flagship for the past few years. Belk landed by default at Phipps - that was never meant to be. As far as Phipps NEEDING Belk, that's funny. The truth of the matter is that nobody is shopping there now, if the economy goes even more South I don't see that changing anything. With all due respect metrowester, I don't think you understand this market. Orlando has come a LONG way, but we are on an entirely different level here. Consider Bloomingdales being yanked out of Millenium and being replaced by Belk. Then you may understand.

The simple fact of the matter is that all of these high-end retailers are flocking here at the moment, recession or not. In two years when all of these new venues start opening, hopefully the recession will be a distant memory. At any rate, retail spending IS being squeezed like you say - particularly in the mid-range stores. So far, it hasn't affected the luxury retailers.

Believe me, we in Orlando understand the utter disapointment of any store being replaced by Belk. We had 2 Parisian stores replaced by Belk not many months ago. The Belk store in West Oaks Mall has already closed. The mall just announced plans to add a lifestyle concept to the area where Belk was for just a few months. The store was horrible as we all knew it would be, but with Burdines as the Florida store, Parisian never really caught much attention or wasn't really an Orlando favorite. I think in either market, Orlando or Atlanta, replacing Bloomingdales by Belk would be even more horrendous than replacing Parisian with Belk. We actually had something quite the opposite happen in the 90's at Florida Mall, there was a horrid Belk there and it was replaced by Saks Fifth Avenue, things heading up in the right direction. Adding that Saks to Florida Mall totally changed the mall mix, it was followed by Lord & Taylor, Burdines, and Nordstrom as well as several new to market smaller stores. The former Lord & Taylor is being converted to a lifestyle concept with H & M anchoring. Don't forget how upset we in Florida were when we lost our beloved Burdines. That store was us, every bit as important to us as Rich's to Atlanta or Lazarus to Columbus. When friends from other states would come visit, they would collect the latest Burdine's shopping bag, which constantly changed themes. Burdines was always years ahead in their spring and summer wear. Most folks from other states (men) wore the same old khaki shorts and polo shirts. I remember going on a trip one summer in the mid 80's up I-75 and people everywhere staring at us because all of our shorts were below the knee, even folks at Lenox, everyone everywhere else was either wearing pretty short khakis or short track shorts. So while we may not be as dressy in the winter, with Burdines we were always stylin' in the spring and summer. BTW have you been to the Belk website? Is seems the majority of locations are in small southern towns. I still have to check out this "legendary" South Park Belk in Charlotte, I can't believe in the whole chain there is one store that is totally different than the rest of the crappy stores. We used to joke with friends back in high school if they were wearing some off the wall shirt or something and say "looks like somone's been shopping at Belks with their grandma." I know Orlando has come a long way and is not Atlanta, but several years ago we used to make shopping trips to Miami, there was a large percentage of us that were fashion foward and felt Orlando and Tampa were underserved retail wise, but that has changed a lot. Now there is only Jacksonville who has always been underserved but not quite sure if the thinking up there as far as fashion goes was the same as here, until recently, they are wanting and getting a few of the better retailers finally.

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Bloomingdale's was replaced by JCPenney at Valley View Mall in Dallas several years ago. Things like that happen when the economy is bad.

That's a fashionista's worst nightmare! :blink:

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I was looking at Phipps' website earlier, and i noticed that Belk was the only store that had the "sale" tag next to it on the directory list.....that store definately doesnt fit in that mall

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Not sure if Belk being in Phipps is/was "by default"; in my view Simon decided to go the route of not spending the money for a buyout of the lease figuring,incorrectly, that there was no other game in town.

Now with the SOB, there is competition for all of the previously unrepresented brands here in Atlanta. Simon wins the competition for Barneys by default-there was not a footprint big enough in the SOB scheme for a flagship,ie 40-60,000 square feet. However, with the problems at the Giorgio Armani boutique, Simon has to create an atmosphere in Phipps that will attract and retain the upper end retailers who wish to be in a mall environment.The Belk store does not add value to that type of atmosphere.

BTW, there will be some very well known and high end users who are going into the "Midtown mile' due to their desire NOT to be in a mall and not to be in Buckhead.

So what's going on with the Giorgio Armani Boutique at Phipps Plaza???

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I still have to check out this "legendary" South Park Belk in Charlotte, I can't believe in the whole chain there is one store that is totally different than the rest of the crappy stores.
It's a good store.

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Phipps is being looked at hard by Barney's right now, and they have basically been scouting Buckhead for a Flagship for the past few years. Belk landed by default at Phipps - that was never meant to be. As far as Phipps NEEDING Belk, that's funny. The truth of the matter is that nobody is shopping there now, if the economy goes even more South I don't see that changing anything. With all due respect metrowester, I don't think you understand this market. Orlando has come a LONG way, but we are on an entirely different level here. Consider Bloomingdales being yanked out of Millenium and being replaced by Belk. Then you may understand.

The simple fact of the matter is that all of these high-end retailers are flocking here at the moment, recession or not. In two years when all of these new venues start opening, hopefully the recession will be a distant memory. At any rate, retail spending IS being squeezed like you say - particularly in the mid-range stores. So far, it hasn't affected the luxury retailers.

What do you mean that was never meant to be? Most likely, if Barneys had been scouting Atlanta for so long (and determined to open), they would have done so. They wouldn't simply wait for a spot to open up at Phipps, even if Belk didn't buy Parisian, that space wasn't going to open up soon. Barneys looks at multiple locations in a city. Moreover, I highly doubt no one is shopping at Belk at Phipps. Even the most upscale shopping centers have their lower-end department store, and those perform fine, if not very well. I don't really understand what there is to "misunderstand" about the Atlanta market. The market isn't particularly special right now. It's not experiencing a huge influx/revival of luxury retailers in the present (like Dallas, Chicago, Boston, Phoenix, San Diego, all of which have dozens of ultra-luxury stores that have opened in 2007 and more planned to open in 2008.) Even the retailers signed at SOB aren't expected to open until the fourth quarter of 2009.

As I'm sure you are aware, that was an entirely different situation as Bloomingdale's completely pulled out of Dallas & Houston at the same time, along with Marshall Fields. North Dallas at that point in time was totally overbuilt, with Vally View & The Galleria almost across the street from each other - then the Texas economy tanked. JCPenney HQ's are right up the road, it happened to be a good fit and it made them look good for taking the Bloomies space. So far, we have been fortunate here in that things never have reached the extremes they did in Texas back in those days (i.e. overbuilt & tanked economy).

I stand by my original assertion in saying Belk at Phipps is a big mistake. You need to remember that there are still people in this town that haven't gotten over losing Rich's. We just don't cry, whine and protest like they do in Chicago. Belk at Phipps (to those that care about these things) is like a final slap in the face. We were promised something by Belk that never happened, Belk lied the the consumers of Atlanta and the merchants at Phipps, and now whatever possible shred of good will that could have existed is out of here. Belk is doomed to failure at this location.

Buckhead Betty has voted with her pocketpook, and she has told ALL of her friends. End of story.

I think you underestimate how well Belks can perform at Phipps. If the shoppers at Phipps were truly 100% luxury/ultra-luxury, Phipps/Lenox wouldn't have seen the flight of several of their highest-end retailers, citing the immaturity of the market and low sales. Phipps/Lenox is such a large shopping destination for the Southeast and its not just a luxury destination. There are still many affordable stores there and what makes it so popular is the sheer number of diverse stores at one location.

I was looking at Phipps' website earlier, and i noticed that Belk was the only store that had the "sale" tag next to it on the directory list.....that store definately doesnt fit in that mall

You've never shopped at a designer store or high end dept store if you didnt know that they all have sales too. In fact, the Barneys annual warehouse sale is probably better than any Belk sale. Manolo Blahniks from 500 down to 50, Armani suits for 250.

Edited by Manolos

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