WeWork, owner of Saks Fifth Avenue, to manage co-working spaces in former stores
Saks Fifth Avenue owner is converting parts of department stores into coworking spaces with WeWork, a strategy that combines the popularity of remote working with the struggles of brick-and-mortar retail.
Hudson’s Bay Co. plans to open its first five coworking offices in the New York area next month, company executives said. The new company, dubbed SaksWorks, asks WeWork to manage and staff co-work spaces in buildings belonging to Hudson’s Bay.
The Canadian retail group is transforming current and former Saks stores, as well as some of the spaces previously occupied by Lord & Taylor, into these coworking offices managed by WeWork. The nearly 200-year-old department store chain declared bankruptcy in 2020 and announced it would close all of its remaining stores to operate exclusively as an e-commerce retailer. The Hudson’s Bay Company owns the buildings that were once occupied by the Lord & Taylor stores.
Hudson’s Bay hopes to capitalize on the boom in remote working, which most polls show many Americans want to continue doing at least part-time. A survey of 9,000 workers by consulting giant Accenture PLC earlier this year found that 83% of those surveyed described a hybrid work arrangement, with a mix of office and home work, as ideal.
SaksWorks is betting it can meet these needs with a co-working space, especially in the suburbs where many workers tire of being locked in their homes all day but still want to avoid a tedious commute to town.