Belk plans bankruptcy filing, says operations will continue at stores | Business
Belk, the North Carolina-based department store chain that has catered to generations of shoppers for nearly 190 years, announced that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The chain’s owner, private equity firm Sycamore Partners, said in a press release that Belk will continue with “normal operations” in the event of bankruptcy.
Belk has two stores in southern Louisiana: one in Denham Springs at Juban Crossing, the other in Covington at River Chase.
Sycamore Partners said it expects to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of February. It will retain majority control of Belk, according to an agreement reached with some of Belk’s creditors. A group of department store creditors, led by private equity firms KKR and Blackstone, will get a minority stake. The bankruptcy plan will help Belk get rid of about $450 million in debt.
“We are confident that this agreement puts us on the right long-term path to significantly reduce our debt and provide us with greater financial flexibility to meet our obligations and continue to invest in our business,” said Lisa Harper, CEO of Belk. , in a press release. .
The 133-year-old chain was born from the opening of a store in Monroe, North Carolina, by William Henry Belk in 1888. Three generations of the Belk family led the company to become the largest chain in family-owned department store in the country in 2015, when the family sold it for $3 billion.
Belk has more than 20,000 employees in its nearly 300 stores in 16 southeastern states. Its headquarters opened in 1988 in Charlotte and today has approximately 1,300 workers.