Lord & Taylor, one of America's oldest department stores, files for bankruptcy

The company said it was looking for a new owner.
Lord And Taylor To Close It's Flagship 5th Avenue Store
A woman walks out of Lord & Taylor's flagship store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Lord & Taylor, one of America's oldest department stores, has filed for bankruptcy, joining a growing list of stores slammed by the coronavirus pandemic. Tailored Brands, the parent company of Men's Wearhouse and Jos. A. Banks, filed for bankruptcy as well.

Many of the companies that have filed for Chapter 11 in recent weeks were already struggling, but the forced closure of non-essential stores in March pushed them to the brink.

Lord & Taylor, which was sold to the French rental clothing company Le Tote Inc. last year, filed Sunday for bankruptcy protection in the Eastern Court of Virginia.

In an announcement on its website the company, one of the oldest American department stores, said it was looking for a new owner.

Like many retailers, Lord & Taylor was already struggling with the shift to online shopping even before the pandemic struck this spring. Last year, it sold its flagship building on New York’s Fifth Avenue after more than a century in the 11-story building.

The company was founded as a dry goods store in 1826. There are several dozen Lord & Taylor stores across the country.

Tailored Brands, which filed for Chapter 11 Sunday in the Southern District of Texas, said it would continue to operate Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Banks stores, along with K&G Fashion Superstore and Moores Clothing for Men, which it also owns. It said in a release that a restructuring plan is expected to reduce the company’s funded debt by at least $630 million and provide increased financial flexibility.

As many people have switched to working at home, brands that sell clothes targeted at offices workers have had a particularly hard time. Brooks Brothers and the parent company of Ann Taylor are among those that have also filed for bankruptcy.

As of July 23, roughly 40 retailers, including big and small companies, had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy so far this year. That exceeds the number of retail bankruptcies for all of last year. About two dozen of them have sought bankruptcy protection since the pandemic started.

Others include J. Crew, J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus, Stage Stores, and Ascena Retail Group, which owns Lane Bryant in addition to Ann Taylor.