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America’s Oldest Department Store Is Closing All Its Stores After 200 Years

Beginning with the untimely death of NBA star Kobe Bryant, 2020 quickly went off the rails with the coronavirus pandemic and the civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd. As the economy struggled to survive the downturn from the pandemic, retailers (including some that are about as old as America herself) struggled as people turned to Amazon and other online stores to get goods delivered to them via the United States Post Office or UPS.

Now, Lord & Taylor – America’s oldest department store chain – is set to close all of its stores after being in business for nearly two hundred years. Because the economy has crushed this American business, which was sold to a French company last year, it will close all of its 38 stores in a desperate liquidation sale. This was a change since it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, deciding, at the time, to keep fourteen locations open.

Lord & Taylor opened its doors in Manhattan in 1824. It was a dry goods store and the first of its kind. Making history as the first department store in the United States, Lord & Taylor continued to innovate for years until it was sold to the French clothing company, Le Tote Inc. last year.

Both Lord & Taylor and Le Tote Inc. filed for bankruptcy in the Eastern Court of Virginia in August 2020.

“While we are still entertaining various opportunities, we believe it is prudent to simultaneously put the remainder of the s tores into liquidation to maximize the value of inventory for the estate while pursuing options for the Company’s brands,” Ed Kremer, Le Tote’s chief restructuring officer said in a statement.

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Last year before the coronavirus pandemic struck the world, Lord & Taylor was looking to change things up. They sold their Fifth Avenue store to the French after owning it for more than a century. The struggling coworking company, WeWork, purchased the building. However, it has since been purchased by Amazon for a new Manhattan office space.

Lord & Taylor is currently holding their going-out-of-business sales right now. Everything will be sold, including the fixtures, equipment, and furniture.

The economic fallout falling the coronavirus pandemic has forced many businesses to shutter their doors. Brooks Brothers, as well as J. Crew, J.C. Penny, Neiman Marcus, Stage Stores, Ann Taylor, and Lane Bryant will no longer be operating like they once did.

Brooks Brothers was another two-hundred-year-old company that has dressed most United States presidents. Barneys New York, its long-time rival, already declared bankruptcy last year.

Other notable retailers that have filed for bankruptcy protection include The Paper Store, Inc., Sur La Table, Inc., Lucky Brand, LLC, and Ascena Retail Group, Inc., which owns Men’s Warehouse and Jos A. Bank.

Now that the economic collapse has shattered the American economy – eroding historical businesses that have been in operation almost as long as America has been around, we will have to see how the economy will recover and who will take the vacancies.

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