By Lenore Fedow
The former Lord & Taylor flagship store on New York’s Fifth Avenue, sold in 2018 to WeWork. The retailer and its owner Le Tote recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
New York—Lord & Taylor and its owner, clothing rental company Le Tote, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Sunday, joining the growing list of retailers hard hit by COVID-19.

Le Tote acquired the 194-year-old retailer, said to be the oldest department store chain in the United States, in November 2019 from Hudson’s Bay Company for $100 million.

In filing for Chapter 11, the department store chain is looking for a new owner, according to a message to customers on its website.

Founded in 1826 as a dry goods store, the retailer evolved into a department store heavyweight in its heyday but has struggled to compete with online retailers in recent years.

It sold its flagship store on New York’s Fifth Avenue, its home for more than a century, to WeWork in 2018.

Lord & Taylor has 38 locations, which shut down temporarily in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the retailer and its owner have 651 employees.

Tailored Brands, the parent company of Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Banks, also filed for bankruptcy this week.

Clothing retailers have had a particularly rough time as of late with JC Penney, Neiman Marcus, J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, and Ascena Retail Group, which owns Ann Taylor and Lane Bryant, all recently filing for bankruptcy protection.

Nearly 40 retailers had filed for Chapter 11 as of July 23, more than all the filings in 2019.

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