’Difficult but... necessary,’ Belk confirms dozens of layoffs at corporate office

’Difficult but... necessary,’ Belk confirms dozens of layoffs at corporate office
Last week, approximately 80 positions were eliminated at Belk’s corporate office as part of a restructuring move, a company spokeswoman confirmed Monday. (Source: Observer File Photo)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (The Charlotte Observer) - Charlotte-based Belk has cut about 80 corporate positions, a company spokeswoman confirmed Monday.

“Last week we announced a restructuring at our corporate office resulting in approximately 80 eliminated positions,” the privately held department store chain said in a statement to the Observer.

“These changes will help simplify corporate operations, more efficiently align teams and position Belk to continue to grow” seamless customer experiences in stores, on apps and online, the company stated.

“Belk is providing a variety of support to those affected by job eliminations, including competitive severance packages and outplacement services.,” Belk stated. “These changes have been difficult but are necessary to provide the best customer experience possible.”

No further details about what jobs were eliminated were immediately available Monday afternoon.

Belk did not immediately say how many people currently work at its headquarters.

The company had about 1,200 employees in 2018 at its Tyvola Road headquarters in Charlotte, down 200 people from two years prior, the Observer previously reported.

OTHER LAYOFFS AND CHANGES

The department store was founded in Monroe in 1888 and grew into the largest family-owned department store chain in the country.

In 2015, Belk was sold to the private equity firm Sycamore Partners for $3 billion. The company laid off dozens of employees at its headquarters off Tyvola Road and other store, the Observer previously reported.

Belk has about 300 stores in 16 Southern states.

Jacob Hawkins, Belk’s senior vice president of e-commerce, told trade publication Total Retail the company invested $60 million in technology to support “omnichannel growth” for customer experiences in stores, apps and online. Hawkins also said Belk plans to invest $20 million in the 2020 fiscal year in areas including mobile platforms.

Belk has been making other changes to its operations in the Charlotte area.

Belk also saw layoffs in February 2018, the Observer previously reported.

That’s when 58 full-time jobs were eliminated, including assistant store managers, operations managers and sales team managers across 16 states. In North Carolina, 12 jobs were cut.

The retailer also closed stores in West Virginia and Atlanta, the Observer reported at the time.

And last November, the Observer reported, the Charlotte Sports Foundation announced Belk would no longer be the title sponsor for Charlotte’s annual college football bowl game hosting Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference held in December since 2011.

Instead, Belk said it was instead investing in other “new giving initiatives that will have a greater impact on our hometowns.”

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