It seems Bayer Retail Co.’s sensibilities are offended by the idea of Parisian being replaced with *gasp* Belk. I can’t blame them. Can you imagine the horror of being forced to shop at a “moderate-price department store”? No, No, NO! I want to throw away money on overpriced designer outfits, housewares, and gifts. How dare you offer me affordable shopping?
When I first moved to Birmingham, Parisian was one of my favorite places to shop. Excellent service, quality clothes, good selection, prices at the high end of reasonable, and excellent sales. Now I rarely go in the store, much less purchase anything. A series of buyouts by various national retailers has left us with less than great service and skyrocketing prices. I’d much prefer a mid-price department store, although my experience with the Belk in my home town tells me its prices are pretty steep.
It’s amusing to hear Bayer taking up for the rich people, given its disregard for the opinion of Lockerbie residents in the fight over the famous Mountain Brook dirt pile. (For those of you not from around here, Bayer wanted to develop a piece of land along a busy freeway that borders the wealthiest suburb of Birmingham. In the process of development, Bayer insisted on rerouting a major intersection and taking some land that appeared to belong to residents of Lockerbie, an exclusive gated community. Bayer won in court, and I wouldn’t be surprised if revenues at the Summit dropped noticeably after that.)
If I were Belk, I might just yank the store out of the Summit altogether and focus my resources on the Galleria or Brookwood Mall or other shopping centers in fast-growing parts of the metro area. Leave Bayer with a big, empty space to fill and no department store. That won’t happen, but it would be funny if it did.