Department Store Seeks Help for Schizophrenia

Jul 31, 2003
George Anderson

By George Anderson

By most accounts, including those in today’s New York Times, the department store chain, Lord & Taylor, has had difficulty finding its place among competitors ranging from Bloomingdale’s to Kohl’s.

Marvin Traub, retail consultant and former head of Bloomingdale’s said, “In
the era of expansion, they changed their point of view and dropped their affiliation
with the designers, and became a more moderate store. They still had the Lord
& Taylor name, but had lost their uniqueness.”

The result of these changes according to Allan Elliger, senior managing director for the retail management consulting group MMG was, “A lot of the stores had fallen into an abyss. They’d become schizophrenic.”

To set itself, hopefully, back on the path of recovery, Lord & Taylor announced it would close 32 under-performing stores and leave entire markets including Florida and Texas.

The chain intends to focus its efforts on reestablishing itself as an upscale fashion retailer in markets in the Northeast and Midwest where it has had greater success.

Moderator’s Comment: How can Lord & Taylor be successful
positioning itself as an upscale retailer in a market where affluent consumers
shop in dollar stores?

The consumer quote of the day goes to Betsy Kozarski,
a retired school teacher, who told the Times, the department store “used to
be where rich people shopped. Now that we can afford Lord & Taylor, they’re
going out of business.”
Anderson – Moderator

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