It's the end of an era: Lord & Taylor announced that it has left its landmark Fifth Avenue store in New York City.
The retailer’s parent company, Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), sold the iconic 676,000-square-foot building to WeWork for $850 million in fall 2017, in a deal aimed to lower HBC’s debt levels and give WeWork a new headquarters in New York City.
While the original plan was for Lord & Taylor to keep a smaller presence in the Fifth Avenue building, it was announced in June that the retailer would leave the location entirely.
“After evaluating best-use scenarios for its New York City Fifth Avenue location, the company has decided not to maintain a presence at this location following turnover of the building to WeWork,” Lord & Taylor said in a release, according to Chain Store Age. “Exiting this iconic space reflects Lord & Taylor’s increasing focus on its digital opportunity and [Hudson’s Bay Co.’s] commitment to improving profitability.”
Founded in 1826 by cousins Sam Lord and George Taylor, Lord & Taylor's Fifth Avenue flagship store opened in 1914 and was given landmark status in 2007.
As it shuts down a brick-and-mortar location, the retailer is focusing on its online presence. In May, Lord & Taylor announced that it was teaming up with Walmart to create an online store within Walmart.com that will sell around 125 fashion brands.
The online store has been touted as a “premium” shopping destination on the web, providing a way for Lord & Taylor to reach customers who don't typically visit its stores. While Lord & Taylor’s website has around 2.2 million unique visitors, Walmart boasts 101 million visitors to its site.
“This is a tremendous growth opportunity,” RJ Cilley, a senior vice president of digital at Lord & Taylor, said in a conference call at the time. “We are growing our footprint to reach exponentially more customers.”