Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dillard's (former Ivey's); Orange Park Mall, Orange Park, Florida

From the photo collection of frequent LiveMalls contributor Brian comes a series of recent photos from the Dillard's (former Ivey's) at Orange Park Mall in Orange Park, Florida (just outside Jacksonville). This store has not been renovated since Dillard's took over the location from Ivey's in 1990. Brian's comments are listed in Italics below:

001 - Mall entrance, center court of the mall. As was typical, the glass on the second level was a restaurant as Ivey's, but is currently Dillard's offices for, according to the sign, all of North Florida. Sort of ironic that they would have their offices at a store that is decidedly less upscale than the other Jacksonville-area stores.

002 - Women's wear, first level. Notice the pink and purple walls, which, to my memory, have not been touched. On the wall, there are scars from various brand logos that have been taken down over the years.

003 - Dresses, looking toward cosmetics. Note the original Ivey's pink marble floor.

004 - Outside entrance to men's department. Classic Ivey's Florida exterior. The stores in Daytona Beach and Merritt Island are very similar.

005 - Dillard's, time, and the Florida weather have done a great job of eliminating the Ivey's labelcar. I've found in my travels that Dillard's does a better job than anyone at covering up old labelscars. In person, you can make out where the old sign anchors were, but nothing else.

006 - Side of building. Oddly, there is only a sign, but no entrance on this side.

007 - More womens. The men's department was crawling with overbearing sales trainees that weren't conducive to picture taking.

008 - The classic Ivey's glass elevator. I dreamed of these as a kid.

009 - A look at cosmetics from above. I was actually trying to get a shot of the blonde Lancome chick, but she walked off. :-(

010 - A closeup of the pink marble and the extremely nasty and well worn pink carpet. Both original to the store.

Many thanks to Brian for his generous contribution.


  1. Wonderful! These are great!!!

    I believe the Dillard's at Southpark has the same escalator-type (left over from the Ivey's days as well!.

    p.s. I am hearing that the Belk's talks with Dillard's are increasing as of late--word is that the Florida stores will most likely be bought by Belk's. Apparently Dillard's is in huge financial trouble.

  2. I was blown away by these photos. This place looks like it hasn't been touched since 1986.

    Unfortunately, Dillard's removed both the old 1970 model Escal-Aires and the newer set leading to the third floor when they remodeled. It's a whole new set-up now, though the escalator well looks the same.

    With a substantial footprint in Florida, Belk will do well with the old Dillard's there. I really hope Dillard's survives though. I'd hate to lose them too.

    1. It opened in 1975 with the mall as an Iveys, and became Dillard's in June of 1990

  3. Pat, I don't want to dispute what you've heard, but in several of the bigger Florida markets, I don't see the reasoning in a Belk takeover of Dillard's. Partly because several of the existing Belk stores were former Gayfer's/Maison Blanche/MayCohen stores that Dillard's flipped to Belk because they were locations where Dillard's already had a store.

    In Jacksonville, you've got the mall pictured here, Orange Park, which has this smaller Dillard's and a larger Belk that was a former Gayfers. It's a mid-level store, which is not typically where they would go with a two-store format. On down 295 about 11 miles, you've got the Avenues, where Belk already has two massive locations, the former Gayfers (the May Cohen flagship) and the recently aquired Parisian. Add to that the Dillard's, which is bigger than either of the current Belks, and you've got an anchor problem.

    In Daytona, you've got a mall with 3 large Dillard's, a former Ivey's, a former Belk-Lindsey and a former Gayfers. Supposedly, this is one of Dillard's most profitable locations in FL.

    Gainesville has a large Belk (former Belk-Lindsey) and a large Dillard's.

    Overall, there are few markets where a total takeover of the Dillard's stores would make sense for Belk without them having to spin some of those locations to someone else (Macy's does not have much of a North FL footprint, but they've got serious issues of their own, more serious than is being reported, I'm told).

    I can see Dillard's possibly selling some locations, particulary in south Florida, where Belk doesn't have as large of a footprint as they once did, as Belk-Lindsey.

    Overall, I think mid to upscale retail is pretty shaky in central and south Florida. The demographics of the areas do not play well for these areas of retail. Formal and business wear is extremely soft for both men and women. Several Dillard's locations have done away with most suits and furnishings, a stark departure from their strategy. Macy's has done the same, though its a more common strategy for them nationwide.

    As far as Dillard's survival, I've got some other thoughts on that, but I'll save those for another day, possibly when I pass along my Dillard;s Knoxville closing shots.

  4. Nice retro Dillard's there. That glass elevator sure reminded me of the one that the Ivey's/Dillard's at Carolina Circle Mall had, but I seem to remember the lightbulb strips on them being bigger at CCM.

  5. Brian: I think Orlando and South Florida could work out for Belk, but, like you said, North Florida would be a little messy. Still, if this deal is real, it could be possible. Macy's had similar circumstances when they took over May Company stores in the Northeast and California.

    Billy: I think they probably toned down the elevator in this store when it was remodeled in the '80s. I can't imagine it was that beige when the store opened.

  6. I could see Dillard's parting with some of the South Florida stores, the margins are lower down there because of the travel and those areas have been softer than North.

    I get what you're saying about Macy's in the May merger, but I also think that Belk is smart enough to know that an unecessary takeover that leaves a mall with a viable, yet empty anchor isn't a good situation for a mall or any of the remaining tenants. I know a discussion along those lines is what took the Parisian deal so long to go down, the study of what the impact would be on some of the malls.

    Dillard's as a whole has struggled to find the right mix of merchandise since they started phasing out Hilfiger four years ago. They replaced it across the board with the Cremiux private label, which did well as a lower-cost, higher margin alternative, but has flopped as a complete replacement. Slowly, Dillard's moved more toward the private labels of Cremuix and others. That's cost them dearly. They're now turning back to name brands by creating new areas for CK and Perry Ellis.

    They have closed every store that finished in the red for more than two years in a row, so we'll see how that works out. I don't see them going away, but I think going back private may be in their future when the sale of the construction company sale is complete.

    As for this store, the mall was built in 1975, so I would assume there was an 80's renovation, but there certainly hasn't been anything since, haha.

  7. The key to a Belk-Dillard's deal working in North Florida is, strangely enough, Macy's. Macy's wants a presence in Jacksonville badly, and has thus far been kept out of choice locations by Belk and Dillard's.

    If Belk buys out Dillard's Florida operations and shifts select stores to Macy's and retailers like Nordstrom and Target, that would eliminate many of the potential dark anchor spaces.

    In the case of Parisian, Belk was dealing with a lot of smallish stores, so in order for someone to make the acquired stores pay they'd have to either go with a smaller store or expand and renovate before they got started. Most of the affected locations are in "right sized" for a Macy's operation and in good physical shape, so they wouldn't have that issue.

    It's amazing what kind of vacuum Tommy Hilfiger left when it pulled back distribution. It has been a truly important brand for several years, and I don't think that the middle market department stores in the Southeast will ever have another brand that pulls in a large enough cross section of people to replace the sales generated by that one brand.

    Daniel Cremieux doesn't sell at full price and it's had very limited impact on upgrading Dillard's image. I can't figure out where it makes sense for Dillard's to keep investing in it.

    Cremieux brings up an issue you touched on: where is Dillard's heading? The basic idea still works, and their new stores have never looked better, but their a certain emptiness to the store experience these days. It's like they're aiming for a more upscale audience without the merchandise to match up. This is very odd as Dillard's usually was a well-oiled and coordinated operation before.

  8. There's one problem in your thinking about spinning stores to Macy's. I know for absolute certain that Belk and Dillard's will not sell any locations to Macy's under any circumstances. I can't really go in to how I know that, and feel free to dispute it, but I know that to be a fact. I know that as a part of the Parisian deal, Macy's offered both Saks and Belk to buy Parisian locations in Knoxville, Chattanooga, Jacksonville and Tuscaloosa, and Belk told Saks there would be no deal if that happened, and again refused when Federated made the offer directly to them. Belk converted three of those stores and sold the Chattanooga one to Dillard's for their second location. I can't speak on the possibility of selling to other retailers.

    The size issue was a reason that I never thought the Parisian deal was a good one for Belk. Parisian worked because it had a botique feel, small and upscale, and appealed to that market. I didn't think that Belk's approach to merchandising would work out in some of those locations. I don't think it has in some cases. I think that if Belk could do it again, they would pass on Parisian. They made the purchase for two reasons, to keep Macy's out of some markets and to get into the Atlanta market.

    Hilfiger and Dillard's had a falling out when Dillard's moved TH to less desirable space in some of their stores and replaced it with Cremieux. TH also felt that Dillard's was ripping off some of their designs. Cremieux actually sold better when it was alongside TH, but Dillard's was taking a hit by then having to sell the more expensive TH merchandise at great reduction. Problem is, Cremieux didn't stand well on its own. It looked like a great quality substitute next door to TH, but alone it was "just another store brand." It's quite the dilemma. TH thought that Dillard's would eventually come crawling back, but they never did.

    The funny thing is, the Cremieux stuff is great quality, especially the dress shirts and tailored clothing. But like you said, doesn't move because its a store brand. They have to keep investing in it because it has such a high margin for Dillard's, even at a discount.

    Dillard's is making an effort to better tailor merchandise to individual stores. They are putting new brands in the top-level stores. At the store here in Knoxville, they just renovated a couple of areas in the men's department to be areas for Calvin Klein, Perry Ellis and Hugo Boss sportswear. They've become known in alot of places to be THE place for tailored clothing. WIth Belk cutting out suit departments in former McRaes, Proffitt's and Parisians, Dillard's is the only place in most malls to buy a good suit, and they sell better than you think in most areas.

    I really think that in the long term, going private is the only way that Dillard's and Macy's are going to be able to be top-level stores as they have been previously. Although I certainly wouldn't call most of what Macy's is throwing out now "top-level."

  9. Well said about Macy's, Brian. Especially considering I've noticed most of the new Macy's merchandise that was added to local Chicago stores, after the switch from the Marshall Field's nameplate seems to be more downmarket, than it was under Field's. LOL, I think the Frango chocolates are about the only drawing card Macy's still has that attracts me to their stores anymore!

    That aside, I'm now gonna talk about the Orange Park Mall Dillard's pics. They were absolutely great pics! I find it very amazing and hard to believe that Dillard's hasn't done much renovations to this store at all, from the days it was an Ivey's store. In addition, it slightly surprises me to hear Dillard's is in financial trouble, considering that I was impressed how nice their store was in Richmond, IN, when I recently took a trip there earlier this summer. But hey, I guess when the economy is so bad that Boscov's had to file for bankruptcy, it's in reality not that surprising.

    Finally Steven, your pics of older Belk stores that you post here from time to time make me wanna take some suburban trips to photograph the locations of former Marshall Field's stores, since I know the exact location of several former stores. I hope soon to be able to email you those State St. Carson Prairie Scott pics, when I have the time to do so.


  10. Brian: Belk may not sell any future stores to Macy’s, but they did swap stores during the may-Federated merger. Belk swapped a Parisian in suburban Memphis for a Macy’s (former Hecht’s) at Mayfaire in Wilmington.

    The type and size stores Parisian typically ran are pretty much outmoded. Ivey’s and Thalhimers used to operate similar upscale anchor stores in the 50,000 to 100,000 square foot range, but when Dillard’s and Hecht’s, respectively, took over, those stores were either expanded or abandoned. If neither of those options worked, the store expanded into additional anchor space, creating the double header stores that are common in smaller malls.

    The reason is that the largely mass market brands that most department stores carry usually require more space so that the retailer can carry the full merchandise line. Some of the more upscale brands will allow retailers to pick and choose key pieces and display them in intimate surroundings, but those vendors favor stores like Saks, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, and even they’ve grown their typical stores due to vendor demands.

    Tommy Hilfiger has radically overhauled its business model. Instead of sourcing primarily through department stores, it’s using Macy’s as its main national retailer and its own retail stores in major cities and off-price outlets in high traffic outlet malls to fill in the gaps. The approach has worked well. The company is reportedly in the black now, and the image of the brand has made a dramatic leap upward because it’s harder to get and higher quality than it was even a handful of years ago.

    The ironic part about Dillard’s financial trouble is that they’ve never been better design and merchandise wise. The stores have become uniform in size and design and they’re now carrying more exciting merchandise than anybody in their peer group. Even the Cremieux section is having a bit of a renaissance.

    Allan: Did you ever do the Field’s and Carson’s pics? I’d love to see them.

  11. Made the annual family trek to Florida, and I can report that exactly zero has changed, other than that nasty carpet in the last picture has another year of nastiness in it.

  12. I don't know whether to be happy or disappointed. I like a good relic, but it sucks to shop in one as your local store.