20 Things You Didn’t Know About Lord & Taylor

Lord & Taylor is An American Department store that has the distinction of being the oldest one in the country. The headquarters for the company is located in New York City. It has an interesting history and we learned some interesting facts about it that we think you’ll be glad to know about so here are 20 things that you didn’t know about Lord & Taylor.

1. It was founded as a dry goods store

The founder of Lord & Taylor was an English born man named Samuel Lord. He opened the first store in New York in 1824. It began as a store that sold dry goods. Two years later, the name of the company was changed to Lord & Taylor. It was located on Catherine street. The department store stocked its shelves with cashmere shawls, misses wear and hosiery. These were items that were in high demand in New York at the time so the company did very well.

2. Samuel Lord partnered with his cousin in 1834

The first partner for the business joined Samuel Lord in 1834, a decade after the business was first established. George Washington Taylor briefly joined Samuel in his venture, but was replaced by Lord’s brother in-law in 1845. Nine years after the new partner came on board, the store moved from its original location on Catherine Street to Grand and Chrystie Streets in 1854.

3. The flagship store opened on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan

Lord & Taylor opened its flagship store in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue. This was the ideal location for a high-end department store and by 1860, they opened a new location which served as their second department store in New York. The new store was located at Broadway and Grand Street and they kept the previous store open as well.

4. Lord & Taylor moved to the “Ladies Mile”

The founder of Lord & Taylor, Mr. Samuel Lord had enjoyed decades with his highly successful department store business and he retired in 1862. Eight years later in 1870, the Broadway location moved just a mile closer to the uptown area into a new building made of cast-iron on Broadway and 20th Street. This area was known to New Yorkers as the Ladies Mile. Throughout the next decade, the department store continued to prosper and to expand and the management annexed the building that was located to the east of it and it grew to encompass an area on Forsyth street, although added on, it was considered to be a new building. The Grand Street store was sold by Samuel Lord’s estate in 1901.

5. The Fifth Avenue store was named an official landmark

The Fifth Avenue Lord and Taylor store was designed by Starrett & van Vleck architects. It was opened between 38th and 39th streets in 1914. In March of the same year, the Broadway store was sold, leaving the Fifth Avenue giant as the main department store in the area. On October 30 of 2007, the Fifth Avenue Lord and Taylor Department Store was named a New York City Landmark. This is quite a distinction, although one that is well deserved by the oldest department store in the entire United States.

6. Lord and Taylor was sold in 1986

The prestigious Lord and Taylor department store was considered to be a treasure for investors. It offered luxury goods and it was a bit too much for the May Company to resist. The May company acquired ADG, the owner of Lord and Taylor in 1986.

7. Lord and Taylor set a precedent in 1945

From the turn of the century through the 1940s, most of the leaders of major companies were male. This is the way that society operated, but in 1945, a woman named Dorothy Shaver became the first woman in the history of the United States to become the president of a major company. She came from the Raymond Loewy Associates design firs which was well-known and popular during this era. She had served as their vice president during her tenure with the company. Shaver had proven her value and was a welcome addition to Lord and Taylor. While under her leadership, Shaver implemented a series of special services that helped to boost the company’s reputation even further.

8. Shaver was responsible for the logo

Lord and Taylor owes credit for the hand written logo design to Shaver. He is the person responsible for its development along with the American Beauty Rose. Both of these items have become iconic symbols of the Lord and Taylor department store and they identify the brand in the minds of their loyal customer base. Ms. Shaver passed away in 1959 after serving the establishment with competent and forward thinking leadership.

9. William J. Lippincott contributed to the expansion of the company

In 1972, a new chairman and chief executive was elected to the Lord and Taylor department store chain. William J. Lippincott came on board and was credited for assisting the company in moving past the traditional territory it had previously served. Under his leadership, the store expanded into new states and grew new customer bases in these areas. They opened Lord and Taylor locations with four in the state of Illinois, and more in Dallas and Houston, Texas as well as stores in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Lippincott was only with the company for four years before a shakeup in management left him ousted from his position in 1976.

10. Aggressive expansion started in the 1970s

Prior to the election of Lippincott, the Lord and Taylor company was led by CEO Joseph E. Brooks in the early 1970s. He began a campaign of aggressive expansion which established locations in Michigan, Illinois, Texas and South Florida. There were 11 new store locations opened in South Florida alone and these were built very quickly, one right after the other. There would be a slight withdrawal from the Florida and Texas markets in 1989 through 1990 when the oil crisis negatively impacted business in these areas for Lord and Taylor along with many other comparable businesses. This was under the direction of their new owner as of 1986, the May Company.

11. May converted several upscale stores into Lord & Taylor

The May Company increased the number of Lord & Taylor department stores with a different kind of strategy. Instead of building new locations, they used other subsidiary department store companies that they owned. They transformed their Woodward & Lothrop, their Wanamaker’s, and their Hahn & Co. chains which were all upscale establishments, into Lord & Taylor stores. This represented a dramatic evolution in the Lord & Taylor chain.

12. They appointed a second female president

Lord & Taylor had not placed another female at the helm until June of 2000. Until this time, since the passing of Dorothy Shaver in 1959, all of the presidents and CEOs had been male. Jane Elfers was chosen to become their new president. She brought with her experience as an executive from Lord & Taylor’s competition the Neiman Marcus chain. Elfters occupied her post as president of the company until she was replaced with Brendan Hoffman in October of 2008. She wasn’t fired from the position as her contract with the company had expired and was not renewed.

13. Lord & Taylor brought more women on as leaders

Lord & Taylor had set a precedent by hiring female leaders off and on since the 1940s. Although the majority of their executives were men, their third female leader took ove the reigns in 2011 when they hired Bonnie Brooks as their president. She occupied the position for just two years and was replaced by Liz Rodbell in 2013.

14. Lord & Taylor was acquired by Macy’s Inc.

The company that is now known as Macy’s Inc, was formerly called Federated Department Stores. Before they changed their name, they acquired May Department Stores. The deal was completed on August 30th of 2005. This meant that they were also the owners of Lord & Taylor, which was previously owned by May Department Stores. Macy’s didn’t hang onto Lord & Taylor for long though. It was announced by the president and chairman of Federated that Lord & Taylor was to be sold by the end of 2005 and in addition that several of the Lord & Taylor locations which conflicted with the Macy’s department store locations would be closed or absorbed into the Macy’s stores.

15. Lord & Taylor gets a new owner in 2006

After seven of the Lord & Taylor stores were either closed down or absorbed into Macy’s a buyer announced their intentions to acquire the Lord & Taylor Company from Federated Department Stores. NRDC Equity Partners, LLC made the announcement of their intentions to purchase the stores on June 22 of 2006. They paid $1.2 billion in the acquisition. By October of 2006, the deal was completed and once again, Lord & Taylor was owned by yet another parent company. Under the deal, Federated Department Stores was charged with handling the consumer credit accounts established by customers through the middle part of 2007.

16. Lord & Taylor was combined with Hudson’s Bay Company

In 2008, Lord & Taylor’s parent company NRDC Equity Partners purchased the Hudson Bay Company which was at the time, a company that had been in existence for 338 years. The price of the purchase has not been disclosed. Their intention was to expand their holdings internationally. They placed Lord & Taylor department stores under the Hudson’s bay company. By February of 2018, the new combined companies were established as Hudson’s Bay and Home Outfitters in the country of Canada. In Germany, it was called Galeria Kaufhof and in the United States it was Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue. It’s interesting to learn about the connection among these well-known and established stores.

17. Upgrades are planned for the stores

The new HBC umbrella company has made a commitment to upgrade most of its stores with the Fifth Avenue becoming the flagship and receiving $150 million of the funding pie in 2010. In It was clearly a priority to improve the highly valuable Lord & Taylor branding because of its historical and current importance as the oldest department store chain in the nation.

18. Lord & Taylor formed more partnerships

The $150 million update was applied to the flagship store in 2010, but this was just the beginning of the new additions which would take place. In an important evolutionary step, Lord & Taylor formed a partnership with Brideside and they included the franchise as a part of the Lord & Taylor franchise by building an in-store bridal shop, which launched in March of 2017. Just one month later, Lord & Tayler performed renovations that were estimated to cost a total of $12 million for the Fifth Avenue Store. While it looked like they were making some significant investments into the Fifth avenue location, it was a bit surprising when they made the announcement that the building that housed the store would be sold for $850 million to WeWork. The announcement came in October of the same year and it just goes to show you how quickly things can change within this industry.

19. Lord & Taylor had security issues

The Hudson Bay Company, now over Lord & Taylor made an announcement on April 1 of 2018 that wasn’t a practical joke. They were informing all of their customers that their security system had been breached and that their customers’ credit and debit card information had been stolen by hackers. This was a serious incident that was carried out by a criminal group of hackers that are known by the names Fin7 and JokerStash. The hackers had obtained information from five million of Hudson Bay Company’s customers along with their credentials and their plan was to sell the information on the dark web. The really bad news for Lord & Taylor customers was that most of the stolen information was divided between Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue customers.

20. Walmart sells Lord & Taylor products

Walmart made the announcement in May of 2018 that they planned to start carrying products from Lord & Taylor on their website. Within a few short weeks of this announcement, the Hudson’s Bay Company made the announcement that they were planing to close up to ten of the Lord & Taylor store locations. The Fifth Avenue store was one of them. The reason given for the closures was because of declining store sales and the fact that the online competition was becoming too high for them to sustain the locations.


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