Sycamore Partners completes purchase of Belk

Sycamore Partners completes purchase of Belk

CHARLOTTE, NC (Katherine Peralta/The Charlotte Observer) - Private equity firm Sycamore Partners has completed its purchase of Charlotte-based department store chain Belk, effectively ending 127 years of local ownership of a homegrown retailer.

As part of the deal, Belk has said its headquarters will remain in Charlotte and Tim Belk will continue in his job as chief executive officer.

"Our partnership with Sycamore will contribute to Belk's continued success, and we look forward to leveraging Sycamore's deep knowledge of the retail market to best serve our dedicated customers and provide even greater opportunities for our valued team members," Belk said in a statement Thursday.

Belk, which was founded in Monroe in 1888, agreed to sell itself to New York-based Sycamore in August for $3 billion, and shareholders approved the deal in early November.

Stefan Kaluzny, managing director of New York-based Sycamore Partners, added Thursday that Belk is poised for "continued growth and success."

Belk executives have said that under the new leadership, customers and employees won't notice many major changes. The retailer hasn't announced any layoffs or store closures related to the deal, for example.

The only known employment shakeups include the departure of chief operating officer Johnny Belk, Tim's brother, and the retirement of general counsel Ralph Pitts. Both will leave the company at the end of January.

Belk is Sycamore's largest deal yet, and its first department store purchase. The firm has a portfolio consisting mostly of investments in specialty apparel companies including Aéropostale, Coldwater Creek, Hot Topic, Jones New York, Nine West Holdings and Talbots.

Belk operates 296 stores in 16 Southeastern states. The company employs about 1,300 at its headquarters on Tyvola Road.