According to reports, the acquisition deal between Le Tote and Hudson Bay Company (HBC) for Lord & Taylor has officially closed, with Le Tote Chief Merchandising Officer Ruth Hartman appointed as president of the department store. The deal was reportedly worth 99.5 million Canadian dollars in cash (USD$75 million at the time) and a secured promissory note for $33.2 million payable in cash after two years.
Now that the deal is complete, all of Lord & Taylor’s remaining 45 retail locations will change hands, and Le Tote will get its first-ever brick-and-mortar presence. Even before the deal was done, the brand had already started capitalizing on the physical space. Last month, Le Tote added its “Rental Studio” to a store location in the Ridge Hill retail center in New York, allowing customers to browse some of Le Tote’s rental inventory and have their measurements taken by a store associate. Consumers have also been able to return their rentals at the Rental Studio, which is expected to expand to other locations shortly.
In a statement, Hartman called the tie-up “groundbreaking.”
“By delivering data-driven experiences, we’ll breathe new life into the traditional retail model and put customers in the driver’s seat in a way they’ve never been before,” she added.
Lord & Taylor has struggled in recent years with changing market dynamics and consumer tastes, declining mall attendance and difficulties moving inventory. Le Tote, on the other hand, is one of many digital brands tapping into the potential power of physical retail hubs. According to Le Tote CEO Rakesh Tondon, that power also applies to resale and apparel rental businesses, as well as the actual business of selling clothes.
“By pairing tradition and technology, we are erasing the lines between online and in-store, renting and buying,” he said in a statement. “Today, more than ever, people aren’t single-brand or single-channel shoppers. They crave innovative, personalized experiences.”