The North Carolina department store Belk will be sold for $3 billion to a private equity firm in New York.
Sycamore Partners is acquiring Belk, a company with a long history in the Charlotte area. William Henry Belk founded the department store in Monroe in 1888. Belk has more than 1,000 corporate employees in Charlotte. It's not yet clear what will happen to those employees or the nearly 300 Belk stores in the Southeast.
"Times change. How people are buying is changing. We have a new generation of Millenials who probably have never heard of Belk or certainly don't know the history. They are now the dominant buyers in the retail area," said N.C. State University economics professor Mike Walden.
Walden says the buyout reflects the modern consumer's shopping preferences.
"Probably one of the most revolutionary changes we will see over the next several decades is how people buy products, and having a department store like Belk may become very antiquated," Walden said.
Belk is the largest family-owned department store in the country. CEO Tim Belk will stay in his position and Belk's headquarters will remain in Charlotte.