Walk down Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan, and there’s no way you’d miss the 10-story neo-Renaissance building that Lord & Taylor has called home for a century.
But come next year, the historic site will no longer host the department store chain, as its parent company, Hudson’s Bay Co., announced today that it will turn over the retailer’s New York flagship to co-working real estate firm WeWork. It has also entered into agreements to sell member-based online shopping and lifestyle service Gilt, which is expected to close during the second quarter this year.
In a statement, the company said that the store downsizing will “better balance the brand’s brick and mortar presence with its online channels and increase profitability” as well as “better position Lord & Taylor for future success.”
The closings come in an era of digital disruption, with companies eschewing the traditional retail model in favor of the more profitable e-commerce business due to changing consumer demands and heavier competition.
Up to 10 Lord & Taylor stores, including its Fifth Avenue headquarters, will shutter their doors through 2019. (The company had previously indicated its intention to retain a space in the building to be occupied by WeWork.)
Helena Foulkes, who was named CEO of Hudson’s Bay in February, added that the new move will “take advantage of having a smaller footprint to rethink the model and focus on our digital opportunities.”
Last week, Lord & Taylor launched its flagship on Walmart.com, allowing the retail giant to cater to a previously untapped market of luxury brand shoppers with its new offerings from brands including Vince Camuto, Miss Selfridge and Lucky Brand.
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