Hudson’s Bay Co. Completes Lord & Taylor Buy, Names New CEO

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Lord & Taylor's Fifth Avenue flagship

New York—The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) said today that it completed its acquisition of its sister affiliate, Lord & Taylor Holdings, LLC. Bonnie Brooks, president/ceo at Canada’s The Bay, will become president and ceo of Hudson’s Bay Company, overseeing both The Bay and Lord & Taylor.

Richard Baker, whose NRDC Equity Partners investment firm bought Hudson’s Bay Co. in 2008, will remain as governor and chief executive of the company. Previously The Bay and Lord & Taylor were operated separately under the Hudson’s Bay Trading Company, NRDC’s retail divison, which will cease to exist. Donald Watros will also continue as chief operating officer.

“We are fortunate to have both Don Watros and Bonnie Brooks round out the leadership team of the Hudson’s Bay Company, Baker said. “Don’s operational and financial expertise has been instrumental in contributing to both The Bay and Lord & Taylor’s year-over-year profitability despite the poor economic environment around the globe.”

“Bonnie’s extraordinary leadership at The Bay and previous global retailing expertise from Lane Crawford are a natural fit to lead this new integrated organization as we move to our next phase of growth and evolution,” Baker said. “The turnaround and speed of growth at The Bay under Bonnie’s leadership is unprecedented in modern times.”

Stores to Retain ‘Distinct Identities’

Bonnie Brooks, The Bay's president and ceo, will be now be president and ceo of The Bay and Lord & Taylor

Meanwhile, Brendan Hoffman, who was president and ceo at Lord & Taylor, will begin as president and chief executive at Bon-Ton Stores, effective Feb. 7

While Brooks’ appointment may fuel speculation that HBC may eventually combine the two venerable department store names, the company said Monday that “Lord & Taylor and The Bay will maintain their distinct identities and nameplates while leveraging the merchandising strengths of the organizations to improve and accelerate their continued growth.”

“We have been making changes to the structure for the last two years, primarily in the areas of shared services,” Brooks said, noting shared logistics, information technology, human resources, and store planning. “Now we will be looking at synergies in some of the more front-end areas of the business.”

For instance, The Bay has been selling some Lord & Taylor branded merchandise in its stores, while Lord & Taylor is carrying some of The Bay’s “Signature” pieces based on the Hudson’s Bay Co. points blanket colors.

“It’s a chance to do something innovative,” said Ms. Brooks of her new position. “Lord & Taylor is just a terrific company and they have been doing really, really well for the last three years. I hope we can keep up with that momentum.”

The 92-unit The Bay is nearly double the size of 46-unit Lord & Taylor and HBC said both retailers had a strong 2011. Comparable store sales at The Bay Sales were up 4% for the first half of 2011 and rose 9% in the second half of 2011. While Lord & Taylor annual sales were up 8% in 2011 and up 12% in 2010.


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