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Lord & Taylor Looking To Travel Overseas; Expand At Home

Citing possible opportunities in Asia and other markets in North America, Lord & Taylor chairman Richard Baker says the retailer is joining the ranks of U.S. stores looking to expand internationally. The chain also plans to beef up existing stores with better merchandising and renovations. It will, for example, convert 100,000 or more square feet in its Fifth Avenue flagship into a home furnishings department.

Baker, also president/CEO of NRDC Equity Partners, which owns Lord & Taylor and Fortunoff, says he recently returned from trips to Canada and Mexico. There are "several groups" interested in bringing Lord & Taylor to locations outside the U.S., he says, but he declines to specify which groups or any timetable.

Baker says his company is considering different business models for international expansion, such as licensing. However, "the primary growth story is within existing stores," he says. The changes at the flagship will, in effect, convert L&T into a full-fledged department store, and inevitably draw comparisons to the defunct B. Altman store that was nearby at Fifth Avenue and 34th Street.



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