Lord & Taylor, which has locations in North Bethesda and Friendship Heights, might file for bankruptcy, according to a new report from Reuters Credit: File photo

Lord & Taylor will close its doors in North Bethesda after spending the last five years on Rockville Pike by itself following the closure of White Flint Mall.

The department store filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sunday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Virginia, according to a press release. Under chapter 11, a company can continue to operate while it reorganizes its finances.

The press release included 19 locations around the country scheduled to close, including North Bethesda.

Forbes first reported Lord & Taylor’s bankruptcy filing and list of store closures on Sunday. In May, Reuters reported that the chain had planned to file for bankruptcy, quoting several unnamed sources.

The impending closure of the White Flint store follows a yearslong legal battle between Lord & Taylor and the owners of the former mall property.

White Flint Mall closed in January 2015. Later that year, a jury in federal court ruled that the mall property’s owners, Lerner Enterprises and the Tower Companies, must pay Lord & Taylor $31 million.

The department store company had sued the owners, alleging that by closing the mall, they breached a 1975 agreement that required them to maintain the mall as a “first-class” shopping destination until 2042.

In 2017, a three-judge panel upheld the jury’s ruling after the owners tried to appeal the decision. A dispute about the owners’ legal fees continued into 2018.

Lord & Taylor’s website states that the White Flint store is having a store closing sale. Returns are no longer being accepted there. Returns also will not be accepted online after Aug. 14, the notice said.

The store is currently open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. It is closed Monday and Tuesday, according to the website.

Neither representatives from Lord & Taylor nor attorneys representing the company in court could be reached for comment on Tuesday.

It remains unclear what the fate of the Lord & Taylor at 5255 Western Ave. in the Friendship Heights area of D.C. will be. That store was not on the company press release list of those scheduled to close.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com