Hudson's Bay sells iconic Lord & Taylor store to cut debt

HBC to sell Fifth Avenue flagship Lord & Taylor store

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New York's iconic Lord & Taylor department store is being turned into office space.

HBC expects the transaction to result in an aggregate debt reduction of C$1.6 billion and an increase in total liquidity of about C$1.1 billion.

Lord Taylor, whose retail dry goods store at Broadway and Twentieth Street has been familiar to New Yorkers for more than a generation, have decided that the time has come to establish a new headquarters in the uptown Fifth Avenue shopping centre, and they have taken a large plot for a new store on the west side of Fifth Avenue, between Thirty-eighth and Thirty-ninth Streets.

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The Lord and Taylor building will continue to operate though the 2018 holiday season.

The deals come as HBC faces increased pressure from a US activist investment fund that has argued Hudson's Bay stock is worth only one-third of the real estate it owns.

HBC now anticipates minimal impact on its earnings from the sale of the Lord & Taylor Fifth Avenue building, which is many times less productive in comparison to the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship building.

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In August, news spread that HBC was planning to hire a financial advisor to review all options, including taking the company private, exiting some retail businesses and offloading key real estate holdings. The Fifth Avenue store between 38th and 39th streets has been home since February 24, 1914. The property was appraised recently at about $3.7 billion, according to the New York Times. It could also add 20 WeWork locations in HBC businesses around the world, Baker said.

Adam Neumann, CEO and co-founder of WeWork, says the Lord & Taylor deal underscores his company's commitment to NY and underscores a larger trend in real estate.

"Our partnership with the WeWork team creates new opportunities for HBC to redefine the traditional department store by extending those communities and drive additional traffic to our stores, particularly as we add co-working and community space to existing, vibrant retail locations".

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WeWork Cos said on August 24 it received an additional $3 billion investment from Japan's SoftBank Group and its Vision Fund to ramp up its expansion globally. "People from every walk of life are seeking spaces in big cities that allow for human connections".

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