Recently, 338-year-old Canadian retail giant Hudson’s Bay Company, which operates numerous chain nameplates such as discounter Zellers and The Bay department stores, received a takeover bid from U.S. retailer Lord & Taylor. Already a minor shareholder in Hudson’s Bay Company, Lord & Taylor wouldn’t be the first American company to own this brand; the company is already owned by American Anita Zucker, whose late husband, Jerry, gained control of the company in 2006.
On July 16, the sale was complete, and Hudson’s Bay is now part of the Lord & Taylor fold. Now that Lord & Taylor has a more impressive foothold in North America, what – if anything – do you think will happen to the Hudson’s Bay name? Will it float off into the ether like other venerable brands have over the years – Marshall Field’s, Filene’s, McAlpin’s – just to name a few – or will Lord & Taylor realize the brand has enough equity to keep it afloat?
I, personally, wouldn’t want to see the Hudson’s Bay name disappear across Canada, but what I think hasn’t stopped retailers from shifting and consolidating nameplates in the U.S. I think many people are still miffed about what Macy’s did over the past few years, taking away many regional banners and creating a “unified” Macy’s across the entire United States. Was it worth it for them? Time will tell, but the very reasons they used for unifying their holdings have been sort of left by the wayside, with separate, more upscale Macy’s locations popping up in certain places and not others. The issue is probably more weighty in some places rather than others, too; for example, Chicago’s affinity for Marshall Fields has probably cost Macy’s more money and loyalty than the regional banners in other areas, but who can be so sure? Only time will tell.