The American luxury retail brand Saks Fifth Avenue started more than 150 years ago in Washington, D.C. Its iconic flagship on Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan opened almost 100 years ago and its location was added to the company name. Saks Fifth also led to the Saks OFF 5th brand that grew around the country.
Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) acquired Saks Fifth in 2013. However, HBC, which sold Lord & Taylor for a low-low $100 million in 2019, was already struggling leading up to the global coronavirus pandemic. And the landlord was seriously hurt by the economic downturn like most retailers, suffering from closures and restrictions — particularly in major retail districts in New York and California, which imposed the strictest capacity limits on shopping centers and brick-and-mortar locations in the nation.
Toronto-based HBC temporarily laid off more than 500 retail workers in New York City alone due to the pandemic, and landlord Charles Cohen filed a lawsuit against Saks & Company for skipped rent for its Saks OFF 5th division in Midtown Manhattan. Further, the iconic, 156,300-square-foot Beverly Hills Saks Fifth building off Rodeo Drive was as of late 2020 set to be sold at foreclosure due to alleged missed mortgage payments by HBC and Simon Property Group. Although, the foreclosure proceedings will not impact their stores or operations.
During the pandemic, retail brands re-evaluated real estate needs and overall brick-and-mortar strategy while ecommerce and online sales continued to soar, but vaccine distribution brought hope for a recovery and pent-up demand for experiential-based consumer behaviors.