CHARLOTTE – The department store chain Belk has a new logo being slowly rolled out across the South. The sans serif, lower case Belk replaces a 196os scripty logo that was familiar across the South in various incarnations including Belk, Parks-Belk, Hudson-Belk and Leggett. The old logo design was a fixture of many downtowns across the south, including Tryon Street in Charlotte, pictured in Steven Swain’s excellent architecture blog Livemalls.
The company announced the changes last fall, saying that the changes would cost approximately $70 million, which includes $25 million for new signs in 305 Belk stores over the next 12 months. The company was founded in 1888 by William Henry Belk in Monroe, N.C., and is in the third generation of Belk family leadership. Today, it is the largest privately owned department store chain in the nation.
It’s an improvement on the old; I never thought the 1967 version was that good. Actually, it dates only a few years later than the novel The Help, which makes it actually seem terribly antique. Not sure if it the new one is great, but it does try to show customers that Belk is, well, fashionable, and since that’s the business they are in, it makes sense to make a change. In addition, Belk has been going upscale as many competitors in the South, such as Macy’s, have moved downscale. Consumers know and trust a family-run company, and that gracious, small-town spirit is still a part of the Belk “brand.”
It’s also odd that they waited to long to update the logo; department stores seem to be addicted to these changes. Bravo to Belk for keeping it around so long.