Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a Placer.ai account? Log In

Department Store Deep-Dive: Belk

by 
Ezra Carmel
 on 
March 28, 2023
Department Store Deep-Dive: Belk

We last checked in on the department store space through the lens of luxury leader Nordstrom. In this department store deep dive we took an in-depth look at Belk – a mid-tier chain based in North Carolina – which recently launched its first two Belk Outlet stores. Following the lead of other department stores, the new format signals Belk’s foray into the growing off-price market. 

Drawing on the latest location intelligence data, we dove into the foot traffic to the first of the new Belk Outlet locations and the Belk chain as a whole to take a closer look at what lies ahead for this increasingly popular department store format. 

A Department Store Winner

Despite a year of inflationary woes that plagued department store foot traffic recently, Belk has emerged ahead of the category – which includes mid-tier and luxury brands – for most of 2022. Belk outperformed the department store category when comparing monthly visits to a January 2022 baseline almost every month of 2022, including during the all-important holiday season.

Part of the reason Belk is resonating with consumers may be its engineering of personalized customer experiences, which includes sending happy birthday emails with a coupon to subscribers. This kind of promotional activity creates multiple consumer touch points throughout the birthday month, keeping Belk top-of-mind for self-gifters. 

Belk Outlet: Stepping into the Off-Price Ring

On the heels of a successful 2022, on January 30th, 2023 Belk opened the first Belk Outlet in Greenville, TN at a renovated Belk location – the first of five Belk Outlets slated for this year. The new store offers a wider product selection of and lower prices. And while the outlet sells clearance items from other Belk stores, it also carries name brands not available at other locations. The store’s merchandising strategy appears to be aligned with the current demand for both luxury items and lower price points

Since becoming a Belk Outlet, the Greenville, TN location has seen significant improvements to foot traffic. Between February 2022 and February 2023, visits per sq ft doubled and dwell times increased. Visits and visitors both increased, but visitors had a more rapid growth trajectory, meaning more unique visitors are driving visits to the new store. 

The success of the first Belk Outlet store is good news for the retailer. The company plans to expand the Belk Outlet concept through remodels of locations that currently house full-price Belk venues, which will allow the retailer to keep its fleet lean. And by completing these conversions in a relatively short amount of time the brand can get back to serving consumers quickly after each store’s transition. 

Demographic Insights into Belk’s Visitors

In order to gain insights into the visitation trends of the new Belk Outlet, we conducted a trade area analysis of the Greenville, TN location – analyzing 70% of foot traffic within 50 mi. – before and after it became Belk Outlet. The analysis revealed that the Belk Outlet drove visits from more bargain-hunting families and low-income shoppers. This could indicate that the new Belk Outlet is of particular interest to value-driven consumers looking to stretch their budgets. 

As per the Experian: Mosaic dataset, the Belk Outlet’s trade area included a larger share of consumers belonging to the “Families in Motion” and “Thrifty Habits” segments compared to the location’s trade area during its term as Belk. And according to the Spatial.ai: PersonaLive dataset, the Belk Outlet’s trade area also included more consumers belonging to the “Rural Low Income” and “Small Town Low Income” segments than when the location was a Belk department store. 

Belk to the Future

The future of Belk department stores seems bright as the brand continues to cultivate a personal relationship with customers and bring them the right mix of merchandise. 

The chain has positioned itself for success through its adoption of some of the most current retail strategies including a store-in-store partnership with home goods brand Conn’s. The introduction of Belk Outlet signals the brand’s latest move to find success in the in-demand off-price space. 

For updates and more data-driven foot traffic insights, visit Placer.ai.

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Placer.ai Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Text Link
Department Stores
Text Link
Off-Price
The Promise of Luxury Apparel
Catching Up With Ulta Beauty & Gap Brands
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Five Below: Q1 2024 Treasure Troves
CAVA Still Going Strong
Driving Success: Auto Parts Chains in 2024
Checking in With DICK’S Sporting Goods
Mother’s Day Shopping and Dining Trends
Placer.ai Mall Index: April 2024 Recap – Retail Resilience Heading into Spring
Dollar Stores Still Gaining Momentum
Off-Price Apparel Chains After Q1 2024: Demographics in the Balance
Walmart, Target, and Wholesale Clubs Continue to Thrive
Home Improvement and Decor Check In
Placer.ai Office Index: April 2024 Recap – Recovery Continues
Movie Theaters in Q1 2024: A Preview of Coming Attractions?
Let’s Get Physical: Fitness In 2024
Where Are Workers Returning to Office in 2024?
2024 Wins: Sweetgreen & First Watch on the Rise
A Full-Service Turnaround: Bloomin’, Dine, and Texas Roadhouse
Wendy’s and Denny’s: Breakfast and Late Night Dining Drives Success
Coffee Chains: Q1 2024 Update and What’s Changed Since COVID
Checking in with RBI and YUM!
Chipotle & McDonald's Serving Up Success
Wingstop & Shake Shack Continue Growing Their Reach 
Strong Start for Sprouts in 2024
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale
Who Attends NCAA Final Four Events?
Eclipse Fever: How Did the (Retail and Hospitality) Stars Align?
Exploring Albertsons Companies’ Grocery Growth
Placer.ai Mall Index: March 2024 Recap – Malls Rise Again
Placer.ai Office Index: March 2024 Recap
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!
Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Emerging As Utah Hotspots 
Three Formulas for Experiential Retail in 2024
Aldi & Lidl Making The Cut
Texas Suburbs on the Rise
Exploring Luxury Hotel Brands’ Guest Segmentation
The St. Patrick’s Day Effect
How Can JOANN Make a Comeback?
Panera Bread Well Positioned for Possible IPO
Who Will Benefit From Family Dollar’s Downsizing?
Dave & Buster’s and Main Event Entertainment: Food and Fun for Everyone
Darden Brands: Location Analytics and Consumer Behavior
Nike and lululemon: a Strong 2023, Sprinting into 2024
Where Is Retail and Dining Foot Traffic Thriving in Early 2024?
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – February 2024
Three Retail & Dining Chains That May Surprise in 2024
Specialty Discount Chains Rock Retail Therapy
Placer.ai Mall Index: February 2024
Placer.ai Office Index: February 2024 Recap
Ulta Beauty Continues To Shine
First Watch Sails Into 2024
Hibbett Sports and DICK’S Sporting Goods: A Psychographic Analysis
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024: Placer.ai’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains
Placer.ai Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top
Placer.ai and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap
Placer.ai Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season
Placer.ai Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success