North America’s oldest retailer sold to U.S. owners of Lord & Taylor

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Hudson’s Bay store in Montreal Image: Montrealais.

North America’s oldest retailer, Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), will be transferred from one American owner to another. NRDC Equity Partners, LLC, owners of U.S. department store Lord & Taylor, will purchase HBC from the estate of Jerry Zucker, who died in April.

In 2006, the fate of HBC was first in doubt when Zucker bought it for $1.1 billion from another American owner. The businessman wanted to convert The Bay into a more upscale department-store chain.

Zucker had also begun remodeling the company’s Zellers chain to imitate the Target Corporation, creating wider aisles, expanding outlets, and selling at prices that matched those of the Wal-Mart Canada Corporation.

NRDC plans to introduce up to 15 Lord & Taylor stores in Canada by converting some of HBC’s existing properties, which include stores such as The Bay, Zellers and Home Outfitters. Under the deal announced on Wednesday, NRDC will support a newly-established holding corporation, the Hudson’s Bay Trading Company, with $500 million in funding.

The Hudson’s Bay Company was established in 1670 to support trade and development throughout the northern North American territory that is now Canada.

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