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US department store chain Lord & Taylor files for bankruptcy

Huw Hughes| Monday, August 03 2020

US luxury department store chain Lord & Taylor has filed for bankruptcy, becoming the latest retail casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company filed for Chapter 11 protection on Sunday, according to documents from the US Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, along with its owner, French fashion rental subscription service Le Tote.

Le Tote acquired Lord & Taylor in 2019 from Canadian retailer Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) in a deal worth 99.5 million Canadian dollars (around 75 million US dollars). The deal saw Le Tote acquire the brand and related intellectual property while assuming operations of its 38 stores, digital channels and associated inventory.

As part of the deal, HBC agreed to maintain economic responsibility for the rent payments owed by Lord & Taylor at the 38 locations operated by Le Tote for the initial three years post-closing.

Lord & Taylor files for Chapter 11 protection

At the beginning of 2019, Lord & Taylor shuttered its historic New York City flagship on Fifth Avenue which it opened back in 1914. Like many department store chains, it was struggling to keep up with consumers’ increasing shift to online shopping.

The company has now become the latest in a growing list of US retailers to file for bankruptcy as the Covid-19 pandemic and related store closures continue to pummel sales.

On Sunday, Tailored Brands , the parent company of Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, while JCPenney, J.Crew and Neiman Marcus all filed for bankruptcy back in May.

Lord & Taylor was founded in New York in 1826, making it one of the oldest US department store chains.

Photo credits: Tdorante10, Shinya Suzuki, Flickr

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