Business

Lord & Taylor files for bankruptcy, becoming the latest retail casualty of the coronavirus pandemic

Lord & Taylor in New York.

Richard Levine | Corbis | Getty Images

Venerable U.S. retailer Lord & Taylor filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sunday, becoming the latest in a growing list of storied names to do so amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that has crippled the retail sector. 

The company estimated both assets and liabilities in the range of $100 million to $500 million, its filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia showed. 

A storied department store chain founded in 1826, billed as the oldest in the U.S., Lord & Taylor had been exploring other options as well as filing for bankruptcy. Big names that already filed for Chapter 11 include J Crew Group, JC Penney and Neiman Marcus in May, while Lucky Brand became a casualty of the pandemic in July. 

Fashion rental service start-up Le Tote acquired Lord & Taylor last year from Saks Fifth Avenue owner Hudson’s Bay Company for C$100 million ($74.62 million). 

Hudson’s Bay had kept ownership of some of Lord & Taylor’s real estate and assumed responsibility for its rent payments, amounting to tens of millions of dollars a year. 

Reuters reported in May that Lord & Taylor planned to liquidate inventory in its 38 department stores once restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus were lifted as it braced for a bankruptcy process from which it did not expect to emerge.

One of the world’s oldest department store operators, it was founded by two English immigrants on the Lower East Side in New York City. During the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s, it opened a special section offering mourning apparel for widows. 

Lord & Taylor opened its flagship store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue in 1914, and became known for upscale fashion and its holiday window display. 

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