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Belk to anchor Pinnacle at Turkey Creek

In late April, Belk Inc. announced plans to purchase all McRea’s and Proffitt’s department stores from Alcoa-based Saks Co. for nearly $622 million.

Since the proposed acquisition, many West Knoxville shoppers may be wondering the fate of the Proffitt’s store to be built in Turkey Creek’s Pinnacle Point.

Despite numerous roadside advertisements for the future Proffitt’s store, the facility will open under the Belk’s name, said Steve Pernotto, executive vice president for Belk Inc.

“We plan to open that store in the spring of 2006, when we switch over all the Proffitt’s and McRea’s stores,” Pernotto said. “But we can’t change the signs or begin any marketing until the papers are signed and the deal is closed.”

According to Pernotto, the purchase will be finalized in mid-July and marketing will begin to promote the new Belk stores.

“Our stores have a lot of similarities, but we do carry a little better quality product,” Pernotto said. “And we do have our own private label of goods.”

Along with the Belk merchandise, the stores will also offer an assortment of free services, including gift wrap and credit services.

With the 12 new Tennessee acquisitions, Belk Inc. will have 275 stores in 14 states, making the Charlotte-based company the nation’s largest privately owned business.

Belk officials said that all Proffitt’s and McRea’s employees would be offered similar positions in the new Belk stores. Employees at the Alcoa corporate office will also be offered a new position or commensurate severance packages, officials said.

“We’ve spent the last five days interviewing people interested in joining Belk,” Pernotto said. “For those who do not wish to stay with our company, we will offer them compensation in the form of severance.”


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