This past weekend I found myself wandering the local mall or, more appropriately, being led through the local mall by my wife and kids. As we shopped, I found myself thinking back to my recent post “Private Brand has an Executive Vision on CNBC” about the CNBC show “Executive Vision,” which featured Private Brands. The episode included a round table with Tommy Hilfiger, Founder & Principal Designer for the Tommy Hilfiger Group and Steve Sadie, Chairman & CEO of Saks, among others discussing Private Brands. The two carried on a lively discussion about premium fashion brands and the ability of Private Brands to effectively compete in the space.
As if on cue, we walked into Belk. Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, Belk is the nation’s largest privately owned department store chain with more than 300 stores in 16 Southern states. I grew up shopping in Belk. I can remember my mother and grandmother taking me to shop the store for back-to-school clothes and my first suit. So I have fond memories of the name, the brand and the experience.
Belk now carries a premium men’s clothing brand named after one of their founders, W.H. Belk. The brand includes dress shirts, sport coats and accessories, which, despite Mr. Hilfiger’s assertion to the contrary, completely engaged me—good quality men’s clothing at a great price from a brand I trust. That’s right a brand, in this case the retailer, Belk, made the leap to brand, and I found myself wanting several of the shirts. Unfortunately my family was tugging on my sleeve to move on so I will plan another trip to buy a couple of W.H. Belk shirts.