Lord & Taylor has joined the cascade of retailers tumbling into bankruptcy during the Coronavirus pandemic.
On Sunday, August 2nd, Lord & Taylor’s parent company, Le Tote, filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the state of Virginia.
The company will simultaneously solicit bids for the sale of both its Le Tote and Lord & Taylor businesses and conduct targeted store closing sales to maximize the value of its business. As of now, the company has enlisted Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers to start store closing sales on 19 Lord & Taylor locations.
The company said both Le Tote and Lord & Taylor will continue to operate during the chapter 11 process.
Sunday’s filing comes less than a year after Lord & Taylor was acquired by an online clothing-rental startup called Le Tote. The San Francisco-based startup bought Lord & Taylor for $100 million last August from Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay Co., taking over its 38 locations and hoping to propel the department store toward new, younger shoppers.
Founded in 1826 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Lord & Taylor was one of the nation’s first big department stores, run by two English-born cousins, Samuel Lord, and George Washington Taylor. The store occupied several locations before 1914 when it moved into the building that fills a whole Manhattan block on Fifth Avenue at 38th Street. That location was sold to WeWork in 2018 for $850 million and subsequently closed by January 2019.
Lord & Taylor joins other retailers like J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, J.C. Penney, Brooks Brothers, and now, Tailored Brands, that are turning to bankruptcy proceedings as a way to restructure and survive.