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Belk opens third Maryland location at Valley Mall

In the three years since New York-based Sycamore Partners bought the Belk department store chain from the Belk family, the new owner focused on cuts. It trimmed staff by 200 members at chain headquarters in Charlotte and closed poor-performing stores, including one in Atlanta’s affluent Buckhead neighborhood.

But Sycamore is also aggressively seeking new markets for the 130-year-old retail brand, and this week opened its third Maryland location at Valley Mall in Hagerstown. Belk operates more than 200 stores, largely in North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

"The opening of Belk at Valley Mall will bring an elevated shopping experience to our customers as we continually refresh and curate a mix of offerings appropriate for today's consumer," said Joseph Coradino, CEO of PREIT, which owns the Hagerstown center.

Sycamore is pursuing a private label strategy to infuse new revenue into the old chain. It has launched three new brands — Wonderly, Madison, and Lightning bug — to bring the size of its own-brand roster to 14. Valley Mall will be part of its current launch of the Belk Beauty line. Sycamore has also invested some $40 million into store remodels.

Belk is one of several new tenants at the property. Recent additions include Tilt Studio and BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. Later this year, Tilt will be joined by Onelife Fitness in occupying the 118,000 sq. ft. box vacated by Macy’s.
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