The Belk store at Northlake Mall in April 2015. MARK HAMES mhames@charlotteobserver.com
The Belk store at Northlake Mall in April 2015. MARK HAMES mhames@charlotteobserver.com

What's In Store

Surveying the retail landscape in the Charlotte region and beyond

What's In Store

Belk to become exclusive distributor of popular women’s clothing line

By Katherine Peralta

kperalta@charlotteobserver.com

December 05, 2017 10:49 AM

Nearly a year after The Limited filed for bankruptcy and closed all of its stores, Charlotte-based Belk announced Tuesday it will be the exclusive distributor for the women’s apparel line.

Belk said in a statement that The Limited brand recently relaunched online and debuted in 150 Belk stores. The department store said it will launch The Limited in another 74 stores in 2018.

Belk also said that The Limited will be managed as one of its private-label brands, apparel lines that for Belk, also include Crown & Ivy and New Directions.

Usually moderately priced, private labels are a way that retailers can boost profitability. Companies like Belk get to keep a larger portion of the sales dollars from private labels because national-brand middlemen are eliminated, and stores can choose how and when to discount items.

Be the first to know.

No one covers what is happening in our community better than we do. And with a digital subscription, you'll never miss a local story.

For the first time, The Limited products are available in plus sizes, Belk said. The brand’s relaunch will also include styles in petite, tall and denim.

It’s becoming more popular for department stores to start carrying brands previously only available in their own standalone stores.

Madewell and Topshop have expanded their direct-to-consumer retail distribution by selling at Nordstrom, for instance.

The new Belk partnership comes nearly a year after The Limited filed for bankruptcy and closed its stores nationwide, including three in the Charlotte area, amid declining sales and slow mall traffic.

Belk was started in 1888 in Monroe. The company eventually grew to the largest family-owned department store chain in the U.S., then sold itself to the private equity firm Sycamore Partners in 2015. Belk operates 294 stores in 16 southern states.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta