Lord & Taylor – America’s Oldest Department Store Files for Bankruptcy!

Dear Commons Community,

Lord & Taylor, the department store company that traces its roots to 1826, yesterday became the latest retailer to file for bankruptcy protection as the coronavirus outbreak accelerates the demise of chains that were already teetering.

The chain was acquired last year by the clothing rental start-up Le Tote in an unusual $100 million deal. Now Le Tote and Lord & Taylor are both seeking Chapter 11 protection from their creditors in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The companies said in the filing that they operated 38 locations, which had been temporarily closed since March 2020. A representative for Le Tote and Lord & Taylor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lord & Taylor’s origins date back to 1826, when Samuel Lord and George Washington Taylor, both English immigrants, founded a dry goods store in Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood. It opened its second store in 1853 and a third in 1860. The famed flagship location on Fifth Avenue in New York opened in 1914 and had a concert hall with a built-in pipe organ and several dining rooms.

I will surely miss the Christmas displays (see above video) in the windows of its store on Fifth Avenue.  They were not big and glitzy, but simple animated images that put you in the holiday spirit.



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