Here's Why Lord & Taylor Views Eastchester As the New Brick and Mortar Flagship

An exclusive interview with Westchester resident and Lord & Taylor president Vanessa LeFebvre.

At the beginning of 2019, Lord & Taylor made the difficult decision to close its flagship location on Fifth Ave. While many brick and mortar shops have been struggling as they face the effects of Amazon and online shopping, Vanessa LeFebvre, president of Lord & Taylor and Irvington resident, explains that L&T is evolving. She shared that the decision to shutter the doors of the Manhattan location was based on “financial viability and ensuring that we were doing the right things for the entirety of the brand.”

So, what does this mean for the historic department store? Well, while the flagship location was iconic, LeFebvre likes to remind consumers that the Fifth Ave location was opened halfway through the company’s past: “We were actually open for 96 years before we moved to Fifth Avenue and so, while it was a significant part of our history, it was only a piece of our history. I’m really focused on [determining] how we channel the energy and emotion of losing an entity into the future and building a more sustainable future for us.”





Check out our IG Stories for a special announcement from L+T President, Vanessa LeFebvre.

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LeFebvre says that the company is now evolving to focus on offering new services, adding (or re-introducing) clothing brands, and on the growth of individual locations. The fifth female president in the company’s history, LeFebvre shares that the Eastchester location has grown in its importance to the chain.

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“We’re trying to really think about how to round out the relationship with the New York customer and then remind people that [Eastchester] is sort of our new flagship…What makes Eastchester unique is the community and our relationship and the generations of customers.” She explains that this Westchester location is the largest entity and, nationally, has the biggest footprint.





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As the brand progresses nationally, a focus is to personalize the individual shopping experience. “I’d like to say that we’re no longer a department store — we’re your store — and we want to return the store back to our customer,” LeFebvre says.

When deciding to introduce a virtual shopping service called SmartStyling, the Eastchester location was a part of the pilot. LeFebvre explains Lord & Taylor has always had personal shopping, especially in Westchester, but the company is investing in this new digital experience with a stylist, helping customers for whom the in-store experience is not ideal. Customers can be connected with a specific stylist who will send recommendations via email or the website. “We can personalize a site just for you, based on your needs. You don’t necessarily have to make the time investment and [have] the traditional shopping experience. We can put things in your cart and you can pick and choose.” explains LeFebvre. By the end of this year, L&T hopes to roll out this service to all national stores.





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In addition to personalizing the shopping experience, Lord & Taylor has expanded its roster of brands to include CeCe, T by Tahari, Tommy Bahama, Olsen, Max Mara Studio, Philosophy, Romeo & Juliet, Olive + Oak, 525 America, Harlow & Rose, Liverpool, Cupio, Joseph A., and Premise (amongst others).

Rather than carrying entire lines from brands, LeFebvre explains that L&T is shopping the market and picking the best items, curating high quality pieces for its specific customer base: “We want to really stand for quality and we want to offer that quality at the best value out there. I think that’s where we actually stick out from other department stores — that combination of quality and value, but at the same time, [we] deliver that style that Westchester expects.”

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