Lord & Taylor Closing Famed Fifth Avenue Flagship

The news comes just eight months after parent company Hudson’s Bay Company sold off the department store’s home

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Hudson’s Bay Company, the Canadian parent company of department store Lord & Taylor, has announced plans to shutter 10 of its 48 Lord & Taylor nationwide locations, including the company’s century-old flagship store at 424 Fifth Avenue.

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The decision to close the famed location comes just eight months after Hudson’s Bay announced the $850 million sale of the building to a partnership of WeWork and Rhône Capital, as Commercial Observer reported last October.

The 10 closures, which will occur through 2019, are part of a plan for Lord & Taylor to focus on its digital strategy over bricks and mortar. The closures, Hudson’s Bay indicated in its earnings report today, will reduce costs and grow profits.

Helena Foulkes, Hudson’s Bay CEO since Feb. 19, said as the company is “dedicated to evolving our experience and merchandise assortment to best meet customer expectations and shopping preferences, we will take advantage of having a smaller footprint to rethink the model and focus on our digital opportunities.”

In this vein, Lord & Taylor recently announced a partnership with Walmart to start a Lord & Taylor online store on Walmart.com. When it launches in a few weeks, it will sell more than 125 brands, including Tommy Bahama, Vince Camuto, Miss Selfridge and La La Anthony, according to a press release.

The shift comes at a time when the company has been losing money due to a shift the retail industry to ecommerce. Across the company’s brands, which include Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks OFF 5th and Home Outfitters, Hudson’s Bay has reported losses—again.

Hudson’s Bay posted a net loss of $314 million Canadian dollars (roughly $243 million U.S. dollars) in its first quarter ending May 5 compared with the same period in 2017, according to its earnings results.

Following the sale of 424 Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor had planned to rent 150,000 square feet on the base floors of the the 676,000-square-foot property between West 38th and West 39th Streets.   

A spokesman for WeWork declined to comment.