Lord & Taylor at Lakeside Mall to close

Breana Noble
The Detroit News
In this Jan. 2, 2019, file photo women peer in the front door of Lord & Taylor's flagship Fifth Avenue store which closed in New York.

The Lord & Taylor store at Lakeside Mall is closing, another mark of the national mall meltdown.

It is the latest anchor to announce its departure from the Sterling Heights mall, which is facing revenue declines and deserting tenants. Lord & Taylor will lay off 97 employees Sept. 15 when the store closes, according to a notice filed Wednesday with the state of Michigan.

Despite positive sales trajectories in 2018, many mall-based retailers in 2019 are back to struggling to compete with discount stores and online shopping. Sinking sales have led to stock prices falling and widespread store closures.

Lord & Taylor's latest shuttering is a part of a previous announcement by parent Hudson's Bay Co. to close up to 10 locations in "rightsizing" efforts, said Alex Cohen, a spokeswoman for the Canadian retail business: "These decisions are never easy, but they are the right ones for the company."

Employees were notified Tuesday, and the company is offering support and assistance, Cohen said. Separation packages are available and there may be transfer opportunities, she added.

Lord & Taylor, one of the oldest department stores, has anchored the mall for more than four decades after opening in 1978, two years after Lakeside opened. The store’s departure follows Sears’ closure at Lakeside in September, leaving two large vacancies in Metro Detroit that also has faced the loss of Carsons at the Mall at Partridge Creek in Clinton Township just down Hall Road.

The city of Sterling Heights has spoken with developers and has advocated for redevelopment plans for the 1.5 million-square-foot mall’s property, including using the land for a downtown. Lakeside’s management company, Jones Lang Lasalle Inc., also has said it has design plans in the work.

"Lord & Taylor has supported us as an anchor for many years," Lakeside general manager Jerry Weller said in a statement. "While we’re sad to see them go, we will use this opportunity to enhance the retail offerings at Lakeside Mall to better serve the needs of our customers and our community."

The announcement of the Michigan store closing comes exactly a year after Lord & Taylor abandoned plans to keep open its flagship store in the Fifth Avenue building in New York it is selling. Canadian retail business Hudson’s Bay Co., which also owns Saks Fifth Avenue, is exploring a possible sale of the brand.

Auburn Hills’ Great Lakes Crossing and Novi’s Twelve Oaks Mall will be the only remaining Lord & Taylor locations in Michigan.