Lerner was founded in 1917 in New York City as a woman’s blouse shop. By 1920, the store had expanded to 23 branches and by 1930, the number had grown to 160 shops across 37 states.
Lerner Shops located in busy shopping districts, signing long term leases to get better rental deals. Their shop exteriors embraced modern design and always featured enticing window displays, their interiors were light and spacious – and air conditioned!
By 1967, Lerner began expanding into shopping centers, but as shopping malls became more popular, downtowns deteriorated. Lerner was tied into long leases on many downtown stores and began to get a reputation for being dowdy and dated like the downtown cores of many cities.
In 1985 Limited Brands purchased Lerner and breathed new life into the business, eventually changing its name to New York & Company in the late 1990s. Limited Brands resold New York & Company to RTW Retailwinds in November 2002, and the shop became a popular mall staple alongside businesses like Forever 21 and American Eagle. The pandemic forced NY&Co. to seek bankruptcy protection in the summer of 2020. Saadia Group, LLC purchased what remained of the company in October 2020.