first store

The first department store created in the United States, Lord & Taylor, is formally closing its doors after over 200 years in operation.

Following last week’s decision to keep 14 locations open, the bankrupt company announced on Thursday that all of its 38 remaining stores and online have started liquidation sales.

Ed Kremer, chief restructuring officer of Lord & Taylor, stated in a statement that while “we are still entertaining various opportunities,” it is prudent to simultaneously liquidate the remaining stores in order to maximize the value of inventory for the estate and explore options for the company’s brands.

On August 2, Lord & Taylor declared bankruptcy, joining a long list of upmarket businesses that have recently filed for Chapter 11 protection. After first announcing that 19 stores would be closed, it then boosted that number to 24. Now every store will permanently close.

In a statement on Thursday, its liquidator Hilco Merchant Resources guaranteed significant steep discounts.

“Discounts apply to existing inventory, new store arrivals, and on new categories not previously sold at these stores,” it stated. The selling of furniture, equipment, and store fixtures is another historic event highlight.

The business used to be a pillar of upscale fashion. In 1826, Lord & Taylor established its first location in New York.

Samuel Lord and George Washington Taylor, English immigrants who founded Lord & Taylor, opened their first shop on Manhattan’s Lower East Side about 200 years ago, according to the company’s website. In its first 80 years, the store expanded and moved six times until settling in its current location, a Fifth Avenue flagship store close to Times Square, in 1914. The business had been traded publicly for ten years by that point.

Dorothy Shaver, the first woman to head a major store, drove the business to success in the years after World War II. Shaver introduced the idea of personal shoppers and opened the company’s first suburban branch locations.

However, the number of competitors with reduced prices grew over time. It was purchased by May Department Stores in 1986, and NRDC Equity Partners, a private equity firm, took it private in 2006. Before selling Lord & Taylor to Le Tote, Inc., a clothes rental subscription business, for $75 million in 2019, Hudson’s Bay Company bought the retailer in 2012. With a pop-up shop in New York City and store renovations that prioritized technology, Le Tote attempted to revitalize the brand.