WESTFIELD, NJ — The parent company for Lord & Taylor has filed for bankruptcy protection — the latest indicator of financial distress for the owner of an expansive department store on North Avenue.

The online fashion brand Le Tote — which purchased the chain of Lord & Taylor stores in 2019 — filed for bankruptcy in federal court Sunday, indicating that it has over $100 million in liabilities. The filing comes as Westfield’s municipal government declares the property on which Lord & Taylor sits a non-condemnation area in need of redevelopment.

The redevelopment designation would make the property owner, Hudson’s Bay Company, eligible for tax incentives — including agreements for payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs, intended to entice real estate development while giving the town input into that development. Hudson’s Bay Company is among the town’s largest taxpayers.

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Press offices for Lord & Taylor and Le Tote did not return emails seeking comment on the bankruptcy filing Monday morning.

The redevelopment designation — which characterizes the Lord & Taylor property, along with two nearby parking lots owned by Hudson’s Bay Company, as obsolete — heads to the town council for final approval Aug. 11.

A town commissioned study recommending the Lord & Taylor properties be declared for redevelopment notes struggling department stores throughout the region as indicated by recent bankruptcy filings for Barney’s, Neiman Marcus and JC Penney’s.

“Already weakened by changing market trends, the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has further damaged the viability of these iconic department store brands,” the report says.

Correction: A prior version of this story incorrectly reported Le Tote's liabilities. The correct figure is over $100 million.

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh

Previously in Westfield NJ

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