America's first department store Lord & Taylor officially announced that it is shutting down of all its outlets and going out of business, after nearly 200 years. Yes, 194-years in the business to be precise.

Reversing its last week's decision to keep 14 outlets open, the bankrupt company today announced that all of its 38 remaining stores and the website has begun liquidation sales offering up to 40% storewide discounts.

Lord & Taylor goes bankrupt

Lord & Taylor's chief restructuring officer Ed Kremer said, the company is looking at maximizing the value of inventory for the estate, while pursuing options for the company's brands and looking out for various opportunities.

Joining the string of many other upscale retailers such as J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and Stein Mart who have filed for bankruptcy in the recent months owing to the Covid-19 outbreak impacting businesses, Lord & Taylor filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on August 2. It initially announced 19 stores to be shutting operations, but later increased the count to 24 a few weeks later.

Now, every store of Lord & Taylor will be shutting down soon. The company is officially going out of business in the US. The sale will be led by the joint venture of Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers.

Promising expansive deep discounts to its customers as the stores shut down, its liquidator Hilco Merchant Resources said, "Discounts apply to existing inventory, new store arrivals and on new categories not previously sold at these stores. The historic event will also feature the sale of in store fixtures, furniture, and equipment."

According to a spokesperson, the going-out-of-business sale will give shoppers "an opportunity to take advantage of exceptional savings on notable brands at rarely seen discounts."

Going strong for 194-years long, but now insolvent

Once a store wherein high-end fashion was trending, Lord & Taylor sadly has not managed to survive the test of times changing today. The brand, Lord & Taylor was founded by George Washington Taylor and Samuel Lord in 1826, with a first store on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Clocking nearly 200-years into the business with outlets across the US, the store grew in years and relocated six times during the first 8 decades, finally moving into its flagship Fifth Avenue store near Times Square, New York in 1914. The company by then had already publicly traded for close to 10 years. Surviving the years following World War II, it launched its first suburban branch stores and introduced the concept of personal shoppers.

However, competition from lower-priced rivals managed to lower the store's brand value, to finally lead to acquisition by May Department stores in 1986. In 2006, it was acquired by private equity firm NRDC Equity Partners.

Later Hudson's Bay Company acquired the store in 2012, which was later sold to Le Tote, Inc., a fashion rental subscription service in 2019 for $75 million. Le Tote Inc. ever-since acquisition for past a year, has been trying to revive the brand by remodeling its stores with a focus on technology and opening up a pop-up store in New York.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Lord & Taylor and Le Tote continued to operate online. However, the company's mounting bad debt obligations led to eventual bankruptcy filing and insolvency. In the current times, department stores have lost their competitive edge to e-commerce platforms and online retailing, with the decline of foot traffic to shopping malls and the emergence of small-scale retailers, who do not sell a wide assortment of items.