Lord & Taylor is exploring a bankruptcy filing, Reuters reports, citing unnamed sources.
"The company is working through various options at this time and is declining to comment," a spokesperson from parent company Le Tote said in a statement emailed to Retail Dive.
Those options include attempting to get relief from creditors and seeking financing, sources told Reuters.
An e-commerce apparel company buying up an old-school department store was already an odd acquisition, but Le Tote wanted to venture into brick and mortar in order to grow. Thanks to a devastating pandemic, it turns out the timing could not have been worse.
Both entities were running online only in recent weeks as the COVID-19 outbreak forced temporary store closures nationwide and tempered discretionary spending, and both laid off most of their employees earlier this month.
The apparel rental company bought Lord & Taylor from Hudson's Bay Co. last August for 99.5 million Canadian dollars, quieting some of the agitation from activist inventors for HBC to unload more of its assets. HBC, which also runs Canadian department store Hudson's Bay and American department store Saks, had already sold off Lord & Taylor's Italianate Fifth Avenue flagship to coworking company WeWork early last year.
The tie-up was widely seen as possibly Lord & Taylor's last chance, with some observers noting that merchandisers there still have talent and that Le Tote could help bring in younger customers. But others, even before the pandemic disrupted Le Tote's plans, believed it was too late for the department store, long ago a go-to destination for suburban women.