Oldest US Department Store Lord & Taylor Files For Bankruptcy Protection

Lord & Taylor joined the growing list of U.S. retailers who filed for bankruptcy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Lord & Taylor, one of the oldest department store chains in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy protection in the Eastern Court of Virginia on Sunday. The company operated 38 stores that have remained temporarily closed since March this year due to the pandemic.

Lord & Taylor was acquired by Le Tote Inc., a rental subscription-based fashion brand, in 2019. Prior to that, the upscale department-store chain was operated by Hudson’s Bay Company, the owner of luxury retail chain Saks Fifth Avenue, since 2012.

Lord & Taylor was founded as a dry goods store in New York in 1826. The company’s flagship location on Fifth Avenue in New York was opened in 1914, helping it attract the city’s wealthy consumers and tourists.

However, like other brick-and-mortar retailers, Lord & Taylor has been struggling in recent years as customers increasingly shifted to online shopping. The company’s woes were intensified by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Lord & Taylor closed its flagship store on Fifth Avenue in January 2017 and sold the building to WeWork for $850 million last year.

Tailored Brands Inc., which owns menswear brands Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank, has also filed for bankruptcy protection on Sunday.

Several other major retailers such as J. Crew, J.C. Penney and Neiman Marcus have filed for bankruptcy in recent months as they struggled to deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic that resulted in the temporary closure of stores.

America’s oldest apparel retailer Brooks Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early July.

Ascena retail group, which owns the Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lane Bryant and Justice brands, also filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection in July, aiming to significantly reduce its debt by around $1 billion.

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