- Lord & Taylor announced on Tuesday that it would sell its flagship store to the co-working startup WeWork.
- The building will become WeWork’s headquarters in 2018.
- The deal is yet another sign of how destructive the retail apocalpyse has been.
- On a visit to the store after the announcement, we saw empty aisles and lots of discounts.
On Tuesday, Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay announced it would sell its landmark Lord & Taylor store on Fifth Avenue to co-working startup WeWork for $US850 million. Lord & Taylor will continue to operate the entire building through the end of this year.
WeWork recently raised $US4.4 billion in funding from SoftBank Group and SoftBank Vision Fund and is now considered the most valuable startup in New York City. The flagship Lord & Taylor building will serve as WeWork’s headquarters.
While Lord & Taylor is not leaving the building entirely — it will rent about 25% of the space — the sale is symbolic for the struggling department store and for retail as a whole, as shoppers continue to move away from brick-and-mortar stores toward online options. Lord & Taylor has occupied the building on Fifth Avenue since 1914.
We visited Lord & Taylor’s flagship Fifth Avenue store on Wednesday to see how it’s prepared for the holiday season and the ensuing transition. While the store was offering plenty of discounts, it attracted a small fraction of the significant foot traffic outside.
Here’s how Lord & Taylor will end its run as the sole operator of its iconic Fifth Avenue location.
We went to the store, which is located at 424 5th Avenue, on a Wednesday afternoon. There was significant foot traffic nearby.
Here, we found the first of Lord & Taylor's efforts to appeal to younger shoppers in the form of a phone-charging station.
We also noticed relics of a bygone era. Given the emergence of curated, online clothing delivery services like Stitch Fix and Trunk Club, Lord & Taylor's personal stylist service may not provide the competitive advantage it once did.
As we moved up through the store, it became apparent that Lord & Taylor has invested in eye-catching displays.
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