|Headquarters||Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States|
Number of locations
|Products||Clothing, footwear, jewelry, beauty products, fragrances, electronics, bedding and housewares|
|Parent||Hudson's Bay Company|
Lord & Taylor is based in Manhattan, New York City and is the oldest luxury department store chain in North America. It is a subsidiary of the oldest commercial corporation in North America, the Hudson's Bay Company. Lord & Taylor consists of 50 "flagship" and "destination" locations, four L&T outlets, and lordandtaylor
Samuel Lord and George Washington Taylor founded the store in 1826 on Catherine Street in Manhattan selling hosiery, misses' wear, and elegant cashmere shawls. By 1861, the store was located on Broadway at Grand Street, and in 1870 moved to a new cast-iron building at Broadway and 20th Street in the area known as the "Ladies' Mile". Their iconic Starrett & van Vleck Fifth Avenue store and headquarters opened between 38th and 39th streets on February 24, 1914. It was the first store on Fifth Avenue and was also the first store to open a suburban branch in 1941, in Manhasset. A founding member of Associated Dry Goods, Lord & Taylor was considered to be their "crown jewel". When the May Company acquired ADG in 1986, it was assumed that May bought them just for their luxury division. The Fifth Avenue store became a New York City Landmark in December 2007. Today Lord & Taylor has grown to 50 locations across the United States. Each store has a distinctive blend of classical and contemporary elements and are designed one of a kind.
In 1945, Dorothy Shaver became the first woman to head a major retail establishment in the United States as president of Lord & Taylor. As vice president working with the well-known design firm of Raymond Loewy Associates, she opened what is credited as the first ever branch store, in Manhasset, New York. Unlike earlier forays into the suburbs that consisted of smaller boutique-style shops, this was a merchandising effort that became the model for modern suburban shopping. The store consisted of 66 individual shops. Lord & Taylor's relationship with Raymond Loewy Associates continued until 1969, following the construction of the Stamford, Connecticut, store (designed by Loewy Vice President Andrew Geller).
Many of Lord & Taylor's special services, including personal shoppers, were introduced while Shaver presided. During this period she introduced the Andrew Geller hand written logo and the American Beauty Rose as icons of the store. In 1953, Lord & Taylor presented an award for independent thinking, which Albert Einstein won for his "nonconformity" in scientific matters. Shaver's era ended officially upon her death in 1959, but her legacy and innovative retailing concepts continue at Lord & Taylor to this day. Starting in June 2000, Jane Elfers served as Lord & Taylor's second female president. She was replaced in October 2008 by former Neiman Marcus executive, Brendan Hoffman. According to HBC executive chairman, Richard Baker, her contract had expired. A third female president, Bonnie Brooks, took over in 2011, and a fourth female president, Liz Rodbell, took over in 2013.
William J. Lippincott was elected chairman and chief executive in 1972, his The New York Times obituary read: "In his years as president and chairman, Lord & Taylor moved beyond its traditional territory in the northeast to open stores in Atlanta, Houston and Dallas and four stores in Illinois." A management shakeup ousted him in 1976. Under the leadership of CEO Joseph E. Brooks during the 1970s, the company aggressively expanded into Texas, Illinois and Michigan; in the early 1980s, South Florida saw 11 stores opened in quick succession. The chain partially withdrew from the oil-shocked Texas and southern Florida markets in 1989-1990 after its 1986 acquisition by May. Under May, the majority of the upscale Hahne & Co., Wanamaker's, and Woodward & Lothrop chains were converted to Lord & Taylor.
In July 2003, Lord & Taylor's leadership sought to expand the stores "contemporary" appeal. A renewed focus was placed on maintaining a "contemporary meets classical" brand identity. New locations feature classical columns, bright white marble floors and modern stainless steel fixtures. Many existing locations have undergone full renovations and some have also been expanded. Additional changes included the transformation of all Lord & Taylor Signature Restaurants into the more posh Sarabeth's Restaurant. Sarabeth's opened inside the Fifth Avenue store in the fall of 2008. The fifth floor has a full-service Sarabeth's Restaurant while the sixth floor has a Sarabeth's Coffee Bar.
Just three years later, the continuation of this effort came into doubt when owner May Department Stores was acquired by Federated Department Stores, now Macy's Inc, on August 30, 2005. On January 12, 2006, Federated chairman, president, and CEO Terry Lundgren announced that Lord & Taylor would be sold by the end of the year. In an attempt to diminish the chains valuble real estate Federated announced that seven conflicting Lord & Taylor stores would either close or convert to Macy's (Christiana Mall, Delaware; Water Tower Place, Illinois; Northshore Mall, Massachusetts; Fairlane Town Center, Michigan; West County Center and St. Louis Galleria, Missouri; and Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). The Center City, Philadelphia store, former flagship of the John Wanamaker chain, converted to Macy's on August 1, 2006. On June 22, 2006, it was announced that NRDC Equity Partners, LLC would purchase Lord & Taylor for $1.2 billion after Federated closed or converted the seven locations that they had previously announced, a sale that was completed in October 2006. Federated continued to service Lord & Taylor consumer credit accounts in an agreement with NRDC under the terms of its sale until mid-2007. In addition to continuing the campaign announced by May in 2003, NRDC committed to spend an additional $250 million upgrading stores. Lord & Taylor reported a jump in sales after most of May's stores took on the Macy's and Bloomingdale's nameplates in 2006. The Fifth Avenue flagship store received a $150 million update in 2010.
The Fall 2007 campaign was aimed at highlighting the new exclusive merchandise which included pieces by Andrew Marc, Barbour, Herve Leger, Kate Spade, Stella McCartney, Burberry Prorsum, Ben Sherman, and by new in-house lines "Identity" and "Context" for women, and "Black Brown 1826" and William Rast by Justin Timberlake for men. Joseph Abboud also partnered with Lord & Taylor to oversee the creative direction for the men's department.
On July 16, 2008, NRDC Equity Partners announced that it had purchased the 338-year-old commercial corperation The Hudson's Bay Company for an undisclosed price, with the intention of expanding internationally. HBC operates nearly 600 stores under four banners from coast to coast. The Hudson's Bay store in Toronto is the largest store in Canada at nearly 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2) making it also one of the largest stores in the world. The combined company today consists of Hudson's Bay and Home Outfitters in Canada, Galeria Kaufhof in Germany, and luxury banners Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue in the United States.
Since the beginning of the decade, Lord & Taylor has been in expansion mode with the opening several high profile locations. Women's Wear Daily reported in September 2010 that sources within the company were searching for additional space in Westchester County. The Scarsdale location, one of the highest performing with annual sales reaching over $100 million, does not allow space for significant expansion.
In December 2010, Lord & Taylor announced it would be opening a second "destination" store in Westchester County at Westchester's Ridge Hill. The Ridge Hill store was designed by architect Giorgio Borruso. It opened on April 13, 2012, bringing the total number of full-line locations to 48. Another store was announced for the Boston metropolitan area, to be located at the Mall at Rockingham Park. The location opened in March 2012, and brought the total number of full-line locations to 47.
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