13688 Thu, 01/31/2008 - 12:44pm
NEW YORK–Fortunoff and Lord & Taylor may be laying plans to create what they hope will be an upscale, retail power couple.
Lord & Taylor’s parent company NRDC Equity Partners is in talks to acquire Fortunoff for $100 million, according to a story today in The New York Times. Lord & Taylor would place Fortunoff merchandise in its 47 stores and possibly open a Fortunoff boutique within Lord & Taylor’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue here, run by Fortunoff employees, the story said.
Talk of the possible Lord & Taylor/Fortunoff union comes immediately following reports that Fortunoff could file for Chapter 11 protection within the next 10 days, after a deal for the chain to secure new capitalization from a private-equity firm reportedly fell through last week, according to sources.
The synergies between Lord & Taylor and Fortunoff are “tremendous,” said Gilbert Harrison, chairman and chief executive officer of Financo, an investment firm that advises NRDC. “You’ve got a lot of customers that cross-shop” home and apparel, and Fortunoff home merchandise in Lord & Taylor’s stores would only sweeten the department store’s business, he said.
A spokeswoman for Fortunoff this morning declined to offer comment and referred to a statement the retailer released yesterday. “Fortunoff has been and is continuing to work with its financial advisers to consider the complete range of strategic alternatives for the company,” the spokeswoman said yesterday. “Our stores are fully staffed and open for business as usual, and we remain committed to serving our customers.”