Belk Buys Migerobe, Forgets Finlay

Belk Department Stores has purchased Migerobe, a privately held company that operates fine-jewelry departments in 36 Belk locations.

The move is part of Belk’s plan to operate its own fine- jewelry departments. It comes as bad news for Finlay Fine Jewelry, which operates 75 leased departments in Belk Stores. Belk has informed Finlay it will not renew its license agreements when they expire at the end of this fiscal year.

In a statement, Belk’s chief executive officer, Tim Belk, said the company’s fine-jewelry sales will approach $80 million. “We see this as an opportunity to extend fine jewelry to more Belk stores,” he said.

Migerobe owners Ronald K. Baker and Bert W. Baker, whose father founded the business in 1971, will join Belk as vice presidents. The company currently does $31 million in sales.

All store employees presently employed by Migerobe and Finlay will be offered jobs at Belk, a statement said.

Finlay’s sales and earnings have been below expectations, and earlier this year it learned it will lose departments in 190 Federated stores.