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Lord & Taylor to Launch Two New Brands Online

The luxury retailer is set to open two concept shops this fall with offline and online components.

Saks Fifth Avenue isn't the only Hudson's Bay retailer freshening things up this year. Lord & Taylor, too, is trying to up its cool factor.

The department store announced Tuesday, via WWD, that it plans to launch two new concept shops, which it will test both within its Fifth Avenue flagship and online with dedicated "microsites." 

Set to open in September is Brand Assembly, which is being put together with a Los Angeles-based tradeshow of the same name. It will showcase up-and-coming "advanced contemporary" designers like Sachin + Babi and Priory of Ten. This shop will act as sort of a testing ground for new labels -- those that sell well may stick around the store longer or be bought more deeply.

Then, there's Birdcage, set to open in October, which will showcase some apparel, but mostly other items like home goods, food, jewelry and accessories. Marie Turnor handbags, Alex Woo jewelry and Flower Girl flowers will be among its offerings.

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It's the latest, but certainly not the only, instance of a department store making an effort to showcase younger, hipper brands than usual. As we mentioned, Saks's new president, Marigay McKee, has made an effort to bring more buzzy up-and-comers to the retailer, as she had previously at Harrod's. A few seasons ago, Nordstrom launched its "Pop-Ins," a series of shop in-shops, each of which feature new merchandise around a certain theme, often sourced from emerging or international brands. Bergdorf Goodman recently announced that it plans to build a lab for emerging designers on its sixth floor. The list goes on, with more and more big retailers seemingly trying to capture the spirit of an independent boutique within its corporate-owned, multi-floor department stores.

According to WWD, Lord & Taylor also plans to put more of a priority on getting exclusive items from labels, and, obviously, to introduce HBC Sport, a private-label activewear collection, this fall. Because that's what you do now.

Next, we think it should tap cool, young besties Lorde and Taylor Swift as its campaign stars, because duh.