In this year of coronavirus and stay-at-home orders, quite a few companies in the retail sector have declared bankruptcy, including Modell’s, J. Crew, Neiman Marcus and the parent company of Men’s Wearhouse.
Just because a company declared bankruptcy doesn’t mean it’s going out of business; bankruptcy is often used by companies to reorganize their debts and later reemerge. But one prominent company won’t be coming back.
Lord & Taylor, the clothing retail chain that had been America’s oldest continuously operating department store, announced this week that it is going out of business, and will close its thirty-eight remaining stores as well as its e-commerce operation. The decision comes less than a month after the company’s bankruptcy filing. Lord & Taylor had indicated in the spring that its stores wouldn’t reopen after they were closed during the pandemic, but the company had since reversed that decision and attempted to keep stores open.
“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, Lord & Taylor’s chief restructuring officer said in a statement to the media, as reported by CNN.
“I am extraordinarily proud of the continued efforts of our store and corporate team members as they have worked tirelessly over the past several months, under unprecedented conditions, to preserve this historic brand. We have a long road ahead of us and I am grateful and humbled by the dedication and resiliency of our team.”
The company’s website advertises a going-out-of-business sale that is already underway, with prices 20-40% off the lowest ticketed price. Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers are running the liquidation sale. A list of closing stores can be found here.
“This Going Out of Business event gives shoppers the opportunity to take advantage of exceptional savings on notable brands at rarely seen discounts,” the companies said in a statement. “Customers will continue to experience the superior service and value they’ve come to expect from this iconic retailer.”
The company, per the Associated Press, was in business for nearly 200 years, having first opened in 1826. The company was acquired in 2019 by the subscription retail service Le Tote, which also has now declared bankruptcy; it had been owned by the Hudson’s Bay Company between 2008 and 2019. The company’s flagship store in New York City also closed in 2019.
Meanwhile, the pandemic and the many bankruptcies declared have caused bankruptcy courts to fall behind in processing the many cases.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.