Lord & Taylor may go up for sale

In another sign of the separation between haves and have-nots in retail, Lord & Taylor’s owner said it would consider selling the iconic department store chain.

Hudson’s Bay announced Monday that it was pursuing strategic options for Lord & Taylor, including a merger or sale. Hudson’s Bay also owns Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks Off 5th and namesake department stores.

The company said a possible Lord & Taylor sale or merger would help it “focus on its greatest opportunities.”

“This review of strategic alternatives for Lord & Taylor is another example of how we are exploring options to position HBC for long-term success,” said Helena Foulkes, CEO of Hudson’s Bay.

Lord & Taylor, founded in 1826 by Samuel Lord and George Washington Taylor, had 45 stores at the beginning of February in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.

The department store has struggled to adapt to changes in retail and has downsized in recent years.

In 2017, Lord & Taylor sold its flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York to WeWork for $850 million.

The original plan was for the store to become WeWork’s New York headquarters after the 2018 holiday season. After that, part of the building would continue to be run as a scaled-down Lord & Taylor. But Lord & Taylor changed its plans last year and decided to shut down its part of the store.

Lord & Taylor has turned to Walmart for help. Lord & Taylor struck a partnership with Walmart in 2017 for a store on Walmart’s website featuring about 150 brands.

“We’re really happy the way it came out, the way it looks,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told analysts last year of the Lord & Taylor page. “Shoppers like it.”