We went to one of New York’s most famous department stores after it sold to an office startup and saw the retail apocalypse playing out firsthand

Mark Matousek/Business Insider

  • Lord & Taylor announced on Tuesday that it would sell its flagship store to the co-working startup WeWork.
  • The building will become WeWork’s headquarters in 2018.
  • The deal is yet another sign of how destructive the retail apocalpyse has been.
  • On a visit to the store after the announcement, we saw empty aisles and lots of discounts.


On Tuesday, Canadian retailer Hudson’s Bay announced it would sell its landmark Lord & Taylor store on Fifth Avenue to co-working startup WeWork for $850 million. Lord & Taylor will continue to operate the entire building through the end of this year.

WeWork recently raised $4.4 billion in funding from SoftBank Group and SoftBank Vision Fund and is now considered the most valuable startup in New York City. The flagship Lord & Taylor building will serve as WeWork’s headquarters.

While Lord & Taylor is not leaving the building entirely — it will rent about 25% of the space — the sale is symbolic for the struggling department store and for retail as a whole, as shoppers continue to move away from brick-and-mortar stores toward online options. Lord & Taylor has occupied the building on Fifth Avenue since 1914.

We visited Lord & Taylor’s flagship Fifth Avenue store on Wednesday to see how it’s prepared for the holiday season and the ensuing transition. While the store was offering plenty of discounts, it attracted a small fraction of the significant foot traffic outside. 

Here’s how Lord & Taylor will end its run as the sole operator of its iconic Fifth Avenue location.

We went to the store, which is located at 424 5th Avenue, on a Wednesday afternoon. There was significant foot traffic nearby.
Mark Matousek/Business Insider

Some of the displays promoted retro styles that seemed to be targeted toward middle-aged shoppers.
Mark Matousek/Business Insider

Inside, the store wasn’t attracting as many customers as you’d expect from the bustle outside.
Mark Matousek/Business Insider

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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