Retail consultant Anthony Stokan said any increased involvement by NRDC in Hudson's Bay could be good for the historic retailer if the investment firm's track record with the U.S. department store chain Lord & Taylor is any indication.
"Lord & Taylor used to be ... a very safe, classic, old-world retail environment that catered to upper middle-class consumers that wanted to buy safe, solid, comfortable brands,'' said Stokan, a principal in the Toronto-based consulting firm Anthony Russell Inc.
However, since NRDC bought Lord & Taylor two years ago it has invested heavily in revitalizing the chain.
"Today, Lord & Taylor has kicked it up a notch and managed to keep equity and prestige in a very, very respectable brand but has gone more upmarket and is appealing to a younger demographic ... and ... to a tribe that perceives themselves as hip regardless of their age," Stokan added.
NRDC's ownership of Lord & Taylor has led to speculation it might rebrand some Bay stores as Lord & Taylor stores if it acquired the Canadian retailer.