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Hudson’s Bay looks to shed stores ahead of $1.3B deal to go private

Hudson’s Bay chairman Richard Baker and Saks Off 5th (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

Hudson’s Bay chairman Richard Baker and Saks Off 5th (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

The global retail industry’s identity crisis is taking a heavy toll on Hudson’s Bay Company.

The Canadian parent company of Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor announced Thursday it will close 15 of its Saks Off 5th discount stores and four Lord & Taylor locations, part of an effort to cut fat ahead of its $1.3 billion move to take the company private, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Hudson’s Bay shareholders including Richard Baker, Rhone Capital LLC and WeWork Property Advisers will fund their buyout in part by selling the German operations the company acquired in 2015 and 2016. Shares of the company rose by about 42 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange after the deal was announced Monday.

But the smaller pool of shareholders might not do much to reverse the company’s tepid sales numbers, which pushed down the company’s stock value by almost 50 percent during the year leading up to Monday. The company’s revenue fell by 3.3 percent during the quarter ending May 4, as losses at Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay stores outweighed growth at Saks, the company said Thursday.

Shares of rival department store chains Macy’s and Nordstrom have declined in tandem with Hudson’s Bay since 2015.

Last month, the Journal reported Hudson’s Bay is considering selling off the entire Lord & Taylor brand. [WSJ]Alex Nitkin

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