Lord & Taylor
|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, based in Manhattan, New York City, is the oldest luxury department store chain in America with locations exclusive to the eastern, midwestern, and southern United States. It is a subsidiary of the Hudson's Bay Company, the oldest commercial corporation in North America. 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 newly constructed cast-iron building at Broadway and 20th Street, in the area that became known as the "Ladies' Mile". In 1916, Lord & Taylor became a founding member of the American Dry Goods Co., soon renamed Associated Dry Goods Corp. It was considered to be the "crown jewel" of Associated; When the May Company acquired ADG in 1986, it was assumed that May bought ADG just for the upscale Lord & Taylor division. It was one of the first stores on Fifth Avenue, and was also the first specialty store to open a suburban branch, in 1941 in Manhasset. All of Lord & Taylor's locations are distinctive, most stores have a classical or contemporary layout while others are curated landmarks. Lord & Taylor opened its iconic Starrett & van Vleck flagship store and headquarters on Fifth Avenue between 38th and 39th streets on February 24, 1914. In December 2007, it was named a New York City landmark.
20th Century and Women in Power
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 (E.g. personal shoppers) were introduced while Shaver presided. During this period she introduced the Andrew Geller hand written logo (The Signature of American Style), 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. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the innovation of having female, uniformed elevator operators with redheads operating on one side and brunettes operating on the other achieved notoriety. As a perk and to maintain their impeccable appearance, the operators had their makeup and hair done at the Lord & Taylor salon each day before starting. 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 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.
While a part of Associated, William J. Lippincott was promoted to president in 1968, succeeding Melvin E. Dawley (who succeeded Dorothy Shaver), and 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 Hahne & Co., Wanamaker's, and Woodward & Lothrop chains were converted to Lord & Taylor.
Contemporary meets Classical
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 others have also been expanded. Additional changes included the conversion of all dinning rooms into the 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 plan announced by May in 2003, NRDC committed to spend an additional $250 million on store renovations. 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 underwent a $150 million upgrade in 2010.
The Fall 2006 campaign was aimed at highlighting 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, "Black Brown 1826" and William Rast by Justin Timberlake for men.
Hudson's Bay Company
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.
New Era of Expansion
Since the beginning of the decade, Lord & Taylor has been in expansion mode with the opening of five stores and more planned. On September 17, 2010 Women's Wear Daily reported that sources within the company said a second location in Westchester County, NY was being sought. The Scarsdale branch in Westchester County is one of the chain's highest performing stores with annual sales reaching over $100 million. Sources said that the current Scarsdale location did not allow room for expansion and a second Westchester County site would also expand their reach.
In December 2010, Lord & Taylor announced it would be opening a second "destination" store in Westchester County, at Westchester's Ridge Hill in Yonkers. 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. Lord & Taylor also announced another Boston metro store to be located at the Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem, New Hampshire. That opened a month earlier in March, 2012 and brought the total number of full-line locations to 47.
On October 16, 2011, the company announced it would open an 80,000 square foot store at Mizner Park in Boca Raton, Florida, bringing the total number of full-line locations to 49. The Mizner Park store opened in the fall of 2013.
- "A History of Lord & Taylor," 175th Anniversary publication
- Burrows, Edwin G. & Wallace, Mike Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
- "A Landmark Department Store," by Francis Morrone, The Sun, December 27, 2007.
- Kapner, Suzanne (September 26, 2008). "Shakeup at Lord & Taylor". CNN. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
- Obituaries, The New York Times, p. B17, May 7, 1992.
- Lord & Taylor closing at Galleria, West County malls, St. Louis Business Journal, March 10, 2006.
- Federated Agrees to Sell Lord & Taylor to NRDC Equity Partners; Transaction Expected to Close in Third Quarter of 2006, Federated Department Stores, Inc., June 22, 2006.
- Retail Merchandiser Magazine Online - Lord and Taylor Confirms Creation of Proprietary Menswear Line With Designer Joseph Abboud
- , Women's Wear Daily, retrieved on September 22, 2010.
- Forest City Nabs Lord & Taylor for Westchester's Ridge Hill - Citybizlist New York
- Covert, James (October 17, 2011). "Lord & Taylor eyes growth". New York Post.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lord & Taylor.|
- Official website
- Lord & Taylor on Twitter
- Hudson Bay Company official website
- NRDC Equity Partners official website
- Setting the Precedent: Four Women who Excelled in Business
- Papers, 1947-1956. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University.