Lord & Taylor closing all 38 of its stores, including 4 on Long Island

William Arsn

Lord & Taylor is closing all 38 of its stores, including four on Long Island, and starting going-out-of-business sales, the retailer said Thursday.

The news comes after the high-end department store chain filed for bankruptcy protection in early August and later announced two separate rounds of store closings totaling 24 locations, including two Long Island stores – at Westfield South Shore mall in Bay Shore and at Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station.

Thursday’s announcement means that the two Long Island stores that had not previously been slated for closure – at 1200 Franklin Ave. in Garden City and 1440 Northern Blvd. in Manhasset ­– will be shuttered, too.

Lord & Taylor, the nation’s oldest department store chain, and its parent company, Le Tote Inc., both filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Aug. 2 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as a major reason.

Le Tote Inc. said it was seeking a buyer for its fashion rental subscription service, also called Le Tote, and for Lord & Taylor, which opened its first store in 1826 in New York.

“While we are still entertaining various opportunities, we believe it is prudent to simultaneously put the remainder of the stores into liquidation to maximize value of inventory for the estate while pursuing options for the company’s brands,” Ed Kremer, the chief restructuring officer for the companies, said in a statement Thursday.

Founded in 2012 in San Francisco, Le Tote bought Lord & Taylor from Brampton, Canada-based Hudson’s Bay Corp. for $75 million in 2019.

When the Lord & Taylor in Manhasset opened in 1941, it was the first branch location for the retailer.

In 2016, that store and one in Garden City were two of Lord & Taylor’s top stores, out of 50, in sales volume, the company told Newsday then.

A nearly three-year renovation was completed at the Manhasset store in 2018.

Lord & Taylor declined to disclose the cost of the work, but the project increased the size of the three-story store by nearly 50 percent to more than 122,000 square feet.

The work included the addition of a personal shopping room and a two-story glass atrium; new light fixtures, marble flooring and hardware; and the removal of some dividing walls to create a more open layout.

The Garden City store, which opened in 1956, was renovated in 2016.

Like many department store chains, Lord & Taylor has been challenged by competition from online and discount retailers for several years.

During a tour of the renovated Manhasset store in 2018, then-newly hired Lord & Taylor President Vanessa LeFebvre told Newsday that the retailer was not trying to completely change its high-end reputation to target heavily courted millennials.

“I would say that we want to build on our reputation. We are a historic brand. We’re 192 years old. We want to build on the reliability of the brand,” LeFebvre said.

Lord & Taylor entered Suffolk County with its Walt Whitman Shops and Westfield South Shore locations, both of which are anchor stores that opened Nov. 11, 1998, according to Newsday archives. 

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