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Succumbing to Pandemic, Lord & Taylor Exploring Chapter 11

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Lord & Taylor has certainly been around and lived through several past pandemics that swept through the United States. Indeed, the 194-year-old department store chain, the oldest in the country, has lived through its fair share of health, economic and financial calamities, including two world wars and the Spanish Flu of 1918.  

This particular crisis, however, it may not survive.

The New York-based dry goods business started by English-born Samuel Lord in 1826 is reportedly exploring bankruptcy among other options as the coronavirus pandemic sends the U.S. economy and the entire retail industry into a financial tailspin.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Reuters reported on Tuesday that bankruptcy was one of several options the retailer is exploring amid the ongoing pandemic, which has been particularly hard on retailers amid stay-at-home orders across the country and the economic shutdown that has left millions unemployed and financially struggling.

Lord & Taylor executives are also in discussions with creditors on negotiating relief from creditors and sourcing additional financing. While businesses grappling with the economic fallout from the pandemic have tapped government funds as part of a $2.3 trillion stimulus program, most retailers have not been eligible for aid.

Lord & Taylor isn't the only one looking at Chapter 11. Neiman Marcus plans to file for bankruptcy as soon as this week, while J.C. Penney (JCP) - Get Report and Macy's also are considering similar moves. 

Retail sales, which for March fell 8.7%, one of the sharpest monthly declines in history, are expected to ring in even worse in April as the full impact of the near-nationwide economic shutdown is displayed in the economic numbers. 

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