Hudson's Bay Co. has been sold to a U.S. equity group in a move that will bring the upscale Lord & Taylor retailer to Canada.

NRDC Equity Partners of New York bought HBC on Wednesday and says the move allows it to open Lord & Taylor stores in Canada, which the equity company also owns.

Richard Baker, the new CEO of HBC told CTV News that while there are no plans for name changes to any of the Bay stores, some of the stores are too big and allow for multiple stores under the same roof.

"We have a lot of oversized Bay stores . . . there is an opportunity to shrink some of those Bay stores and perhaps, put Lord & Taylor stores adjunct to (those) Bay stores," he said.

"In the Canadian retail market there is a void between high-end retailers like Holt Renfrew and the Bay and we believe that Lord & Taylor could perhaps, fill that void."

The purchase of HRDC brings together HBC's Bay, Zellers, Home Outfitters with NRDC's Lord & Taylor group and the Fortunoff jewellery and home-d�cor chain.

The combined company will be known as the Hudson's Bay Trading Co and has 75,000 employees and annual sales totalling more than US$8 billion.

"You are seeing the two oldest department stores in North America getting together," BNN's Mark Bunting told CTV News Wednesday.

In the NRDC statement, it says the company's strategy is to focus on its new Bay stores by offering more and better brands.

The change in ownership follows the death of Jerry Zucker, the American who bought the Canadian retailer HBC for $1.1 billion in 2006. NRDC was a minority partner in the Zucker purchase.

Baker says that he understands the history HBC has in Canada and said, "we're tremendously honoured to be associated with this iconic Canadian brand."

"I promise our Canadian customers we will honour the traditions of the Hudson's Bay Company."

Both the Bay and Zellers will have new CEOs in the longer term, Baker said.