2018-06-07 04:28:13 UTC
Hudson’s Bay to close Lord & Taylor’s flagship NYC store
By Lisa Fickenscher
June 5, 2018 | 11:22am
The Lord & Taylor flagship was supposed to shrink to 150,000 square feet next year — but now the oldest department store company in the US is disappearing entirely from Fifth Avenue after 104 years in its present location.
Its owner, Toronto-based Hudson’s Bay Company, is closing the store along with at least nine other Lord & Taylor locations next year amid declining sales and a steely focus on the bottom line by new HBC chief executive Helena Foulkes.
The 11-story flagship was sold to office-sharing firm WeWork last year in a deal that was supposed to preserve a sliver of the storied department store.
With 48 stores in the US — mostly in the Northeast — Lord & Taylor is leaning heavily on its new partnership with Walmart.com, with which it launched a dedicated website last week. The plan is to leverage the giant retailer’s millions of shoppers across the country, particularly in regions where there is no Lord & Taylor presence.
“We are taking action to reposition Lord & Taylor for improved results and increased profitability,” Foulkes said in a statement Tuesday. “We will take advantage of having a smaller footprint to rethink the model and focus on our digital opportunities.” The former CVS executive joined HBC in February.
On Monday, HBC shed its flash sales website Gilt, which it bought two years ago for $250 million.
HBC’s total sales increased 1 percent in the first quarter, to $3.1 billion, largely on the strength of its Saks Fifth Avenue chain, whose comparable sales rose 6 percent.
Overall comparable sales for the company declined 0.7 percent, while comparable sales for its HBC Europe division, which includes German department store chain Galeria Kaufhof, declined 6.6 percent.
“I am confident that the retail operations are moving the right direction under Helena’s leadership,” HBC executive chairman Richard Baker said in a statement. “We will continue to explore all opportunities to leverage the strength of our real estate portfolio to create value for our shareholders.”
HBC’s shares closed down 1.5 percent Tuesday, to $10.46.
“It’s sad for the city to lose Lord & Taylor,” said Faith Hope Consolo of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, “but it’s a trophy location and its real estate is more valuable than the business.”