By Brecken Branstrator
The Lord & Taylor flagship building has been sold to co-working space company WeWork. The retailer was meant to have a scaled-down footprint there after WeWork took over in 2019, but now Hudson’s Bay Co. has said it will close it altogether.
New York--Nearly eight months after announcing it would sell its Lord & Taylor building in New York and scale down the footprint there, Hudson’s Bay Co. has now said it will close the store.  

The company announced Tuesday in its first quarter results that as it continues to balance its brick-and-mortar presence with online channels, it has decided to close its Fifth Avenue flagship in New York City altogether.

The company originally planned to continue to operate a much smaller space in the building after it sold to co-working space company WeWork in a deal valued at $850 million.

In its statement, HBC said that, “…exiting this iconic space reflects Lord & Taylor’s increasing focus on its digital opportunity and HBC’s commitment to improving profitability.”

The company said it expects to close up to 10 Lord & Taylor stores through 2019.

It has been struggling with the well-known retailer for some time. Reuters reported in early May that HBC had hired advisors to help it turn the chain around or possibly find it a buyer.

Hudson’s Bay also announced mid-May that it had appointed Vanessa LeFebvre president of Lord & Taylor in hopes of a turnaround. She joins the company from online retailer Stitch Fix.

Meanwhile, HBC also announced in its Q1 results it has entered into an agreement to sell member-based digital shopping business Gilt to flash sale site Rue La La for an undisclosed amount.

According to a press release from Rue La La, the two brands will continue to operate independently under the newly formed Rue Gilt Groupe, serving more than 20 million members between them. The buyer said it plans to hire more than 150 associates to run the Gilt business in New York, Boston and Kentucky, as well as other sites across the country.

The deal is expected to close in July.  

HBC said Gilt, which it acquired in 2016, generated less than 4 percent of its total sales in fiscal 2017.

In its first quarter results, Hudson’s Bay said overall comps were basically flat, with total comparable digital sales increasing nearly 8 percent.

Comps at Saks Fifth Avenue were up 6 percent, while comps at Saks Off 5th were down 4 percent. Same-store sales at DSG (which includes Hudson’s Bay stores, Lord & Taylor and Home Outfitters) and HBC Europe were both down, with the former decreasing nearly 1 percent and the latter declining nearly 7 percent.

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