By Lenore Fedow
The flagship Lord & Taylor store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue was sold to WeWork earlier this year. The department store chain has been acquired by Le Tote, a company that rents out women’s clothing and accessories.
San Francisco—Clothing rental subscription service Le Tote completed its acquisition of Lord & Taylor last week, purchasing the retailer from Hudson’s Bay Company for $100 million.

As per the deal, first announced in August, Le Tote will also acquire Lord & Taylor’s brands, intellectual property, digital channels and inventory.

Founded in 2012, Le Tote rents out women’s clothing and accessories for a flat monthly fee, with the option to then purchase at a discount.

The company said it plans to offer Lord & Taylor’s inventory on its rental platform.

In its first cross-brand collaboration, Le Tote launched an in-person “Rental Studio” in a Lord & Taylor store in Ridge Hill, NY, giving customers a first-hand look at a sampling of its rental inventory.

“By pairing tradition and technology, we are erasing the lines between online and in store, renting and buying,” said Le Tote CEO Rakesh Tondon in a press release.

“Today, more than ever, people aren’t single brand or single channel shoppers. They crave innovative, personalized experiences,” he added.

The deal also gives Hudson’s Bay, which also owns Saks Fifth Avenue and Saks Off 5th, an equity stake in Le Tote and certain minority shareholder rights as well as two seats on its board.

Bari Harlam, chief marketing officer, and Nick Cavallaro, vice president of corporate development, will fill HBC’s board seats.

HBC and its real estate joint venture, HBS Global Properties, will retain ownership of all Lord & Taylor-related owned and ground-leased property. The company will continue to pay the rent for the next three years; it expects to be liable for approximately $58 million in Lord & Taylor rent on an annual basis.

Le Tote also announced the appointment of Ruth Hartman, its chief merchandising officer, as president of Lord & Taylor.

Brian Hoke will continue to serve as Lord & Taylor’s chief merchandising officer while Robert Wehrle will stay on as senior vice president of stores.

“By delivering data driven experiences, we’ll breathe new life into the traditional retail model and put customers in the driver's seat in a way they’ve never been before,” said Hartman in a press release.

Le Tote said additional rental studio locations will launch in more Lord & Taylor stores in coming weeks.

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