Let’s all share a collective tear…
Hudson’s Bay has announced that Lord & Taylor will be shuttering up to 10 locations, one of them the iconic flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. If all 10 were to close, the figure would represent 20% of Lord & Taylor stores. The closings would occur through 2019.
Perhaps this was inevitable amid so much department store turmoil, and as Lord & Taylor strives to strike the balance between brick-and-mortar and digital, and lots of changes happened. First, the retailer sold off the 104-year-old New York store and its property to work-share company WeWork. More recently, Lord & Taylor created an e-commerce space on Walmart.com in a unique retail sharing situation. Most recently, Hudson’s Bay sold off digital shopping service Gilt to e-commerce site Rue La La, which plans to hire more than 150 workers to operate Gilt in New York, Boston, Kentucky and elsewhere, according to USA Today. Lord & Taylor president Liz Rodbell stepped down just months ago.
All these changes come amid declining sales at Hudson’s Bay’s 488 stores (which encompass Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks OFF 5th and Hudson’s Bay). Sales at stores open at least a year fell 0.7% in the quarter ended May 5.
“This reduced store network will allow new leadership to re-think the model and better position Lord & Taylor for future success,” Hudson’s Bay said in a statement. The company hopes to “better balance the brand’s brick-and-mortar presence with its online channels and increase profitability.”
Regardless, the loss of what some say is the oldest department store in the country, will be deeply felt. The original store opened in Manhattan in 1826 (the Fifth Avenue location including company headquarters opened in 1914). Lord & Taylor has also been acclaimed for its elaborate holiday window displays.