A Word With Lord & Taylor’s Vanessa LeFebvre

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The Miracle Mile has been home to Lord & Taylor for more than 77 years. The retailer has used valuable resources to expand the existing footprint and now is ready to reveal its changes, both internal and external, to the public. Vanessa LeFebvre was named as president of the chain in May 2018. She began her career at Lord & Taylor as an assistant buyer and eventually became a Divisional Merchandise Manager of sportwear. She left and continued her career path with several larger retailers, including Macy’s, creating Macy’s Backstage Division plan of creating a store within a store concept. She has also worked with TJX Companies and Stitch Fix.
There are a lot of questions going on regarding the Lord & Taylor (L&T)chain. There is a new relationship with Walmart.com, which is a grand opportunity for the 117-year-old to expand its footprint digitally.
The New York City flagship store is closing and WeWork office space sharing firm is moving into the Fifth Avenue store. The outlying locations have had facelifts and expansions. The Garden City store was expanded in 2016 and was designed with a more intuitive flow and new spa rooms. On the weekend of December 7 through 9, the Manhasset store will hold its grand reveal. LeFebvre shares her insights with the Manhasset Press.
Manhasset Press: Regarding the revitalization of L&T storefronts in the regional market places—what is the new strategy L&T has undertaken?
LeFebvre: L&T’s investment in this renovation demonstrates the brand’s continued commitment to Manhasset. My team and I are building a more meaningful and sustainable future for the brand and local communities like Manhasset are a key part of that strategy.
MP: With the closing of the flagship New York City store, will there be a New York City presence or will it be totally regional?
LeFebvre: We are committed to our local markets and to serving our customers in a more localized and personalized manner. We’re working to improve the current assortment across our 45 stores, in addition to lordandtaylor.com and our flagship on walmart.com, and creating environments where our customers want to shop and where they can turn to for quality, fashion, style and value.
MP: How are you going to make customers think L&T is the place to buy the latest clothes or gift?
LeFebvre: We are grateful for our amazing customers, and look to delight them with great quality, substantial value, and the brands they love. We want our customers to know that we will have everything from the everyday staples in their lives to the most modern fashions, filling them with confidence that we will have both what they need and want.
MP: How are you going to make personal shoppers more user friendly?
LeFebvre: I want to stress that personal shopping at L&T is for everyone. And we are there to provide a personalized shopping experience that fits your life and style. Our stylists are available to help locate the items you’re looking for, no matter your budget or the occasion.
MP: Having worked successfully with Stitch Fix, are you trying to translate that experience into a working regional retailer?
LeFebvre: I have learned from all my experiences, and take something from them all. Right now, I am focused on L&T and the needs of the customer. The retail climate is changing, and we are looking to evolve L&T for the future.
MP: You made mention of making the store experience a “family experience.” Can you speak more about this concept?
LeFebvre: We’re building a merchandise assortment that creates a seamless and efficient shopping experience for the entire family. We currently offer products for the whole family for a special occasion but we’re looking to bring in more of the clothes that fulfill everyday needs. We’re also looking at more ways to engage with our local communities so that we are part of our customers’ lives and more than just a shopping destination.
MP: How will your buyers purchase merchandise on behalf of the chain?
LeFebvre: Across L&T, we put our customer first and we know that they prioritize quality and product excellence. We have an experienced team of merchants who are selecting and purchasing quality and fashionable products for our customers. Our team observes the marketplace and connects with the stores throughout the season to understand feedback and interest in the product assortment, so we can make informed selections for the future.
MP: What do you envision the new store experience to be?
LeFebvre: We’re creating a more personalized environment in each of our stores. The experience we’re striving for is one that feels unique to the shopping preferences of your community, to your L&T.
MP: Do you have anything to say that I might have missed?
LeFebvre: We’re excited to unveil our completely renovated store to our loyal Manhasset customers in the coming weeks. We thank them, and the broader community, for the ongoing support and look forward to serving them through the holiday season and beyond. We hope everyone will join us Dec. 7, 8 and 9 for our grand reveal weekend!

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Elizabeth Johnson is editor of Manhasset Press and Manhasset Press Magazine. Growing up in nearby Garden City and attending New York University, she is well-versed in the locale and knowledgeable about the beat she covers. Her community involvement is extensive and includes the Manhasset SCA, Kiwanis International, Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, St. Mary’s Church, and various civic and local charitable organizations. Curious by nature, her travels, community service, love of the arts as well as local sports give her the inside view to unique content. During her time at Anton, she has received several awards from the New York Press Association and the Press Club of LI, including the coveted "Best Community Newspaper" several years in a row.

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