Neiman Marcus Sales Plummet in Q1

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Neiman MarcusNeiman Marcus enters Q1 behind the eight ball.

The Dallas-based luxury retailer reported its fifth straight quarter of comp store losses this week. Neimans—which operates 42 Neiman Marcus stores, two Bergdorf Goodman stores, 29 Last Call clearance centers, 13 Last Call Studios as well as five CUSP stores—is down 8 percent for the quarter.

The company reported total revenues of $1.08 billion, a 7.4 percent drop compared to total revenues of $1.16 billion for the first quarter of fiscal year 2016.

And it experienced a net loss of $23.5 million compared to $10.5 million for the first quarter of fiscal year 2016.

Neiman Marcus CEO Karen Katz blamed the spiral on changing consumer habits, especially where the internet is concerned. “There’s no question that our core customer is visiting us a little less frequently,” she said in an earnings call. “Customers in general are less loyal to any one retailer and I think a lot of that is because of the price transparency of online. I think that’s here to stay. I don’t think that’s going to change.”

Now that customers, even at the top tier, aren’t shy about price shopping, the retailer is attempting to insulate its business by stocking more goods that can be found only at Neimans and picking vendors that have tighter distributions in the United States.

Katz also noted the business has been hampered by shoppers’ “buy now, wear now” demands. They no longer want to shop according to traditional retail timeframes, which has coats in stores in July and shorts on racks in February. To better align assortments with consumer demands, she said the store is working with vendors to shorten lead times on deliveries.

Like all other retailers, the department store chain is focusing on millennials and how to capture them as they mature. The store recently partnered with Rent the Runway, bringing the designer rental service into its stores, beginning with its San Francisco location. Through this deal, the retailer hopes to lure young women in and help them discover designer labels they’ll later shop rather than rent.


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