Department Stores Go Up and Down

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Yesterday, the big department store news late in the day was that Saks had to let go 1,100 members of its company, which is about 9% of its workforce, and announced that they may be closing some locations in the next year.

This was on top of Neiman Marcus having let go 375 people earlier this week.

But, Lord & Taylor, who just let go 100 employees, also just received $60 million from NRDC Equity Partners, L&T's parent company, so they can continue to operate at cost (for as long as that lasts).

That might sound like a "bail-out," but it also shows that NRDC, a New York-based private equity firm that basically thrives on acquiring operating companies, has confidence that Lord & Taylor will survive the recession, especially since its holiday sales weren't nearly as dismal as most of its competitors (their December sales dipped 5%, as opposed to the average of about 25% as experienced by Saks and Neiman Marcus).

So, good news if you're a fan of Lord & Taylor, not so good news if you're on team Saks.

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