Lord & Taylor: Rebranding the Grand Dame of Department Stores

Last Updated Aug 20, 2007 5:23 PM EDT

Lord & Taylor announced that its new $10 million rebranding campaign will position the chain as "unapologetically classic with a multigenerational attitude." After a slew of store closings, America's oldest department store hopes to reinvigorate its brand by bringing in a younger clientele while retaining its existing well-heeled but older customers. The campaign uses celebrities' children (including John McEnroe's son Sean, and Patty Hearst's daughter Lydia) to forge a link between present and past.
As part of a restructuring program, the retailer has already revamped its stores' design and modernized its merchandise. Retail consultant Candace Corlett talked to Shopping Centers Today about the twin difficulties that clothing retailers face with rebranding: hitting the correct fashion nerve and redesigning stores with panache:
Retailers kid themselves when they start tweaking the design. It needs to be a bold statement for people to notice, and there are lots of opportunities for department stores to make bold statements in their design and architecture. But changing the color of the signs and carpet isn't what shoppers notice. They notice wild fitting rooms and terrific lounging areas.
If the wide-reaching repositioning is a success with both younger and older generations, the 181-year-old department store will prove that new life can be breathed into any brand, no matter how well-established.