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Going, Going, Gone: Inside the Lord & Taylor Closing Sale

Going, Going, Gone: Inside the Lord & Taylor Closing Sale

By: Cristina Martin 

Lord & Taylor opened it’s New York flagship doors back in 1914 making it the oldest department store,  established in 1826. Lord & Taylor officially closes it’s doors to its 5th Avenue mansion January 2019. Goodbye to over 100 years of memories of mothers, daughters, and friends shopping at the iconic store. This news came to us shortly before Henri Bendel told us they would be closing their doors after 123 years at the upper 5th Avenue location. Why? Well, it’s no secret that retail is in some serious trouble. The internet and sites like Amazon have been threatening retail and brick and mortar businesses for years now.

Lord & Taylor was a huge part of my childhood. When my mother finished work, we would browse the floors looking for makeup, outfits for special events and every day, and accessories. I’ll never forget walking into the bright lights on the cosmetics floor captivated by the perfume smells and the glamour. As a kid, there were only a few pieces of clothing that weren’t from Lord & Taylor. Also, it wasn’t Christmas until we passed by the Lord & Taylor windows.

When I was a New York City college student, I entered Lord & Taylor for the first time unaccompanied by my mom. We switched when I started college; she left the city to pursue a new job in New Jersey. All of the sudden Lord & Taylor wasn’t so glamorous anymore. I noticed the retail chain begin it’s descended from high-fashion. Today the store is on it’s way to being extinct and the Christmas windows are black.

It was only right to return one more time together to pay our respects and score some good deals. This past weekend was my first time walking in the store after quite some time. Cosmetics are just as I remember, but after a closer look, I was horrified. As you ride up the escalator, the sales floor is a mess. There is clothing shoved everywhere with no rhyme or reason. Brands or sizes aren’t together. Shoppers are scouring racks just to find something. Almost every floor is like this. It can take you a good day or two to go through everything. Most of the clothing was 40% off with an extra 20% off. Some higher-end brands that were left were 30% off instead of 40%. Some brands pulled their merchandise from the department store. NARS, Coach, and Ted Baker are few big names that chose not to restock the troubled retailer.

How does this sale compare to sample sales? Well, it’s hard to make a fair comparison since many sample sales are only a few days, lower overhead costs, lower inventory. This sale has enough merchandise to fill a department store and significantly higher overhead costs. The short answer some items on sale are better than sample sales, but some items are still overpriced compared to sample sales. For example, J Brand and Halston Heritage just had sample sales these past weeks. Prices at the respective sales were really good for sample sale standards. However, at Lord & Taylor, I scored a pair of J Brand jeans for $14, and my mom picked up a Halston shirt for $16. You can’t beat that! When I walked over to the evening dresses, I found Marchesa Notte for $900. At their last sample sale, they were going for $300.

If you have the head and the time to sit there and go through the seven floors that make up that iconic flagship, or you’re like me and want to pay your last respects, it is 100% worth the trip. You can go home with some really lovely pieces. If you’re a seasoned sample sale shopper, while you browse think to yourself, “Can I get this cheaper at a sample sale?” Happy Shopping!

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