Fashion rental subscription service Le Tote has completed its acquisition of Lord & Taylor from Hudson’s Bay Company and has named Ruth Hartman, chief merchandising officer of Le Tote, as president of the department store company. Hartman brings more than 30 years of experience to her new role. Prior to Le Tote, which she joined in 2014, she held executive positions at Macy’s and DSW.
“With a customer-focused mindset and both traditional and next-gen industry expertise, Ruth is uniquely qualified to spearhead this exciting first step into the future of retail,” said Rakesh Tondon, CEO, Le Tote.
In August, Hudson’s Bay announced it was selling Lord & Taylor, America’s oldest department store, to Le Tote for $100 million. (Hudson’s Bay also received an equity stake in Le Tote, two seats on its board and certain rights as a minority shareholder.)
With the deal closed, Le Tote became the first digitally native brand to acquire an established brick and mortar retailer. The company has assumed operations of 38 Lord & Taylor stores and the brand’s digital channels and vast inventory. Through its rental platform, Le Tote said it will offer shoppers access to the largest selection of styles and brands in the industry.
The first cross-brand collaboration between Le Tote and Lord & Taylor was launched in October, with the opening of Le Tote’s Rental Studio in Lord & Taylor’s store in Ridge Hill, New York. In addition to learning about Le Tote’s rental service first hand, customers have the opportunity to browse a sampling of the rental inventory, have their measurements taken by a store associate, and return their good from Le Tote ( if already a member.) Additional Rental Studio locations are scheduled to launch in the coming weeks.
“By pairing tradition and technology, we are erasing the lines between online and in store, renting and buying,” said Tondon. “Today, more than ever, people aren’t single brand or single-channel shoppers.”
In related news, Le Tote announced that Brian Hoke will as Lord & Taylor’s chief merchandising officer, and that Robert Wehrle will remain as senior VP of stores.
Additionally, Hudson’s Bay’s Bari Harlam (chief marketing officer), and Nick Cavallaro (VP of corporate development), join the Le Tote board.