America's Oldest Department Store Chain Lord & Taylor Files for Bankruptcy –– What Happened?
Historically important luxury department store chain Lord & Taylor falls victim to the unforgiving effects of the current global pandemic and files for bankruptcy.
Things have not been looking good for America's oldest department store, Lord & Taylor. The luxury department store recently filed for bankruptcy, joining the growing list of businesses inescapably wrecked by the pandemic.
The filing reportedly carried out in the Richmond, Virginia U.S Bankruptcy Court came less than a year after online women's clothing rental startup business, Le Tote, agreed to acquire Lord & Taylor from its former owner and owner of Saks Fifth Avenue, Hudson's Bay Co.
With the onset of the novel coronavirus in March, Lord & Taylor temporarily shut down its 38 traditional street-side face-to-face outlets, resorting to operations on online channels.
For a couple of years, the luxury department store has struggled to resuscitate its brand and relevance with customers. Le Tote's acquisition was made in hopes that they would be able to revive the store and attract a fresher and more interested stream of shoppers.
Although it might have been a great plan to get back on track, the pandemic putting a halt on nearly every industry, including the fashion retail world, caused clothing sales to crash at an exponential rate.
Almost 200 years old, Lord & Taylor was founded in 1826 with its first store in Manhattan. Before Le Tote acquired the store, the Manhattan 5th Avenue flagship store, which was opened in 1914, was sold to real estate company WeWork.
The once-iconic business was credited with launching the first personal shoppers back in the '50s as well as coming up with the brilliant novel idea of department store window displayed in the '30s.
According to the New York Times, Lord & Taylor's history began when English migrants Samuel Lord and George Washington Taylor started a dry goods business in Manhattan's Lower East Side area in 1826.
The chain started when the second store was opened in 1853. The chain then extended with the opening of the third store in 1860. The store at the Destiny USA mall in Syracuse has been reportedly sporting closing sale signs, offering 20% to 40% off on all the things they had in store.
Both parent company Le Tote and subsidiary business Lord & Taylor are not the first to go down the path of a gradual disappointment since the pandemic began. They join the likes of other household name companies, including J.C. Penny, Brooks Brothers, J. Crew, and Neiman Marcus.
The tragic downfall of this historically important business only reinforces the people's minds the extent to which COVID-19 has greatly impacted the world beyond being a health crisis.
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