Report: NRDC Weighs L&T Flagship Sale

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NEW YORK – For years, tourists and holiday celebrants have passed by Lord & Taylor’s Fifth Avenue flagship store in Manhattan and marveled over its festive holiday windows.

But if L&T’s new owners have their way, passersby in the future may get suspicious looks from the doorman of a condominium complex instead, according to a report in this week’s Crain’s New York Business.

According to the story, NRDC Equity Partners is considering the sale of Lord & Taylor’s Manhattan flagship store at 39th Street and its conversion into residential or commercial units. L&T could relocate from its current 600,000-square-foot digs to a smaller location elsewhere in Manhattan or possibly abandon the borough altogether, Crain’s quoted NRDC president Richard Baker as saying.

“We want to be where people live, not where they work,” he told Crain’s without specifying a timeline for such a change.

NRDC bought L&T from Federated Department Stores last month for about $1.2 billion. Federated had previously acquired L&T as part of its historic purchase of archrival May Department Stores Co.

Prior to the Federated acquisition, L&T, under chief executive Jane Elfers had concentrated on weeding out L&T’s less productive units and fine-tuning its merchandise assortment for greater differentiation and less exposure to competitors’ offerings. But the Manhattan flagship, within walking distance of Macy’s mammoth Herald Square store and just down the block from the flagship of Saks Fifth Avenue, continues to show signs of weakness.

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