The oldest luxury department store in America, Lord & Taylor, LLC, announced that it will be shedding 202 employees at a distribution center as part of its Pennsylvania layoffs, targeting workers in Luzerne County. The Lord & Taylor layoffs in 2018 follow as the company—like many other retail stores—continues to try and adapt to the new realities of the industry, where e-commerce has come to dominate.
The Lord & Taylor WARN notice revealed that the layoffs will take place in three stages: March 13, March 30, and April 27. As a subsidiary of Hudson’s Bay Co (TSE:HBC), Lord & Taylor is part of the oldest retail business group in North America.
“This will be a permanent layoff,” Jessica Arnold, director and senior counsel for labor and employment from Hudson’s Bay Co, wrote in a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
While the cuts will be permanent, that does not mean that all 202 employees will be left without a job. Some positions will be opened at a facility in Pottsville. How many jobs will transfer over has yet to be disclosed and at least some of the 202 will be cut without any other positions opening up for them within Hudson’s Bay Co.
The Lord & Taylor layoffs mark the second large round of cuts made in the state. Technicolor Home Entertainment Services, Inc. in Olyphant announced that 160 job cuts would take place in March, adding to the list of Pennsylvania layoffs.
Job cuts have been widespread across the region in 2018 so far, with hundreds being left without a job before the Lord & Taylor layoffs in 2018 were announced.
Meanwhile, Hudson’s Bay stock has been relatively flat, peaking and falling throughout the year with few gains made.
Lord & Taylor Parent Company HBC Reported Losses of $243 Million in 3rd Quarter
The Lord & Taylor layoffs in 2018 are part of a broader cost-cutting strategy put in place by Hudson’s Bay Co, also known as HBC.
The most recent financial earnings report painted a grim picture for the long-lived company. The most recent HBC quarterly results came in with a $243.0-million loss as many of its subsidiaries failed to grow. Alongside an HBC revenue decline, you have a company looking to make cuts wherever it can to increase profit margins and reduce losses.
The previous year’s third-quarter loss amounted to a decline of $125.0 million.
Besides Lord & Taylor, HBC counts Gilt and German department store group Galeria Kaufhof under its ownership.
“We know we can do better, and our highest priorities include increasing comparable sales, improving margins, and prioritizing our capital investments as we focus on further developing our digital business,” Chief Financial Officer Ed Record said in a statement.
The cuts that preceded the Lord & Taylor layoffs are partly to blame for the HBC revenue decline. The company has had to contend with a variety of disrupting events, including job cuts and hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.
The workforce reduction was said to have impacted its digital business the most.
The company had previously announced in June that it would shed 2,000 jobs across North America. More than 900 people have been cut from the corporate office, and more than a third of the employees who remained were put in new positions, according to Record.
One silver lining that the company pointed out during its conference call following the weak earnings report showed that digital sales improved on Black Friday, once again another example of traditional retail stores pushing toward e-commerce in an attempt to keep up with the changing landscape of the industry.
Lord & Taylor’s Earlier Layoffs in 2017
While the cuts being made in 2018 are substantial, they are hardly unprecedented. Lord & Taylor layoffs in 2017 were similarly deep, with the 141 employees cut in Maryland in November being one of the more significant cuts.
An announcement in late 2017 revealed that more Lord & Taylor layoffs in 2018 would be on the way, with a store in Annapolis, Maryland, shuttering between April 15 and 28 and leaving 141 people without work.
“Through the regular course of business we continually evaluate opportunistic transactions with our real estate assets and, from time to time, may determine it necessary for the overall business to close a store,” Hudson’s Bay said in a statement. “These decisions are never easy, but they are prudent for the company, strategically and financially.”
The Lord & Taylor store closing comes as part of the company’s move to cut costs across the board in an effort to reduces the losses that it has experienced over the past few years.
“January 2018 WARN Notices,” Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, January 2018.
“Lord & Taylor announces layoffs,” The Citizens’ Voice, January 20, 2018.
“Hudson’s Bay plunges after it reports $243 million third-quarter loss, sales down from last year,” The Financial Post, December 6, 2017.