Neiman Marcus bounces back

In the midst of continually poor economic news, any signs of improvement can be appreciated. Neiman Marcus Group reports its ready-to-wear is making a comeback, and the company overall is seeing stronger sales.

“The big change between fall and resort was that the ready-to-wear business picked up pretty significantly. Trends for spring are selling very, very well,” Karen Katz, Neiman Marcus Group president and chief executive, said to WWD. Highlights of popular trends include corals, flat sandals and floral prints.

Katz stated that the NMG’s second quarter profits increased more than five-fold, driven by robust full price sales, steady luxury shopping and disciplined inventory management. In fact, income for the quarter soared from $4 million in the same period last year to $21 million this year. Gross margin rose 133 basis points, hitting 32.3 percent of sales, compared with 30.9 percent in the year-ago period.

“Our total financial results were strong,” Katz said to WWD. “Throughout the quarter we maintained our focus on full-price sales and delivering exceptional customer service.”

The picture isn’t 100 percent rosy, however: Some category misses, too much investment in online marketing and increased competition resulted in lower sales.

To boost online performance, Neiman Marcus is going all out: shopping opportunities targeting its Facebook fans, a mystery shopper program, a new blog and sales associates using smart phones to tell shoppers about special sales and offers.

Neiman’s is also considering going global to further bring in the customers. “We are laying out a long-term strategy and will have to decide if we will have an international strategy,” Katz told WWD.

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LadyLUX via Neiman Marcus

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