Lord & Taylor is a high-end retailer that has been closing stores, and it even sold its flagship store to WeWork. Its parent, Hudson’s Bay, has downsized the company as brick-and-mortar sales fall.
Lord & Taylor got a lifeline from Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT), which will start to sell Lord & Taylor items at Walmart.com. It may be a critical lifeline for the retailer, which was founded in 1826.
According to Walmart:
Walmart.com and Lord & Taylor today announced that the companies will begin to roll out the new Lord & Taylor flagship store on Walmart.com in the coming weeks. The flagship, which will debut with more than 125 brands, including Tommy Bahama, Vince Camuto, Miss Selfridge, La La Anthony, Lucky Brand, H Halston and Effy, will be part of Walmart.com’s broader fashion destination.
So, after giving up its flagship store location, its new flagship is an e-commerce one. R.J. Cilley, senior vice president of Digital, Lord & Taylor, said as much:
“This innovative flagship on Walmart.com is an entirely new model for us and demonstrates the evolution of Lord & Taylor and our commitment to advancing our digital presence,” said RJ Cilley, SVP of Digital, Lord & Taylor. “We are excited for the opportunity to serve exponentially more customers with our premium fashion offerings, including our famous dress selection and many stylish brands.”
The Lord & Taylor section of Walmart.com will even get a special designation: Premium Brands from Lord & Taylor.
The deal does offer special advantages for Walmart, which is generally considered a downmarket retail brand, both online and at its nearly 12,000 stores worldwide. It is after all the home of “Everyday Low Prices” and has made its reputation as a seller of inexpensive good and services. It offers dresses and shoes online for under $10.
The deal with Lord & Taylor also is a means for Walmart to better compete with Amazon, which has moved aggressively into clothing sales. Lord & Taylor gets a large portion of its sales from this category.
While the new deal may help the old retailer out of a bind, it also will allow Walmart to enter the high-end fashion and accessories business.