Burton Tansky, the 71-year-old rag-trade journeyman who has led
Neiman Marcus Group for nearly a decade, is quietly refashioning the
upscale department store chain for an age of belt-tightening and less
conspicuous consumption, reports Wall Street Journal today.
Mr. Tansky, Neiman's chairman and CEO, is pressing suppliers to
produce lower-priced versions of designer styles, a stark reversal for
a chain long labeled "Needless Markup" by more frugal-minded shoppers.
The WSJ article continues: "Neiman "worked with a number of vendors and designers, both in
America and Europe, to see if we couldn't create for our customers
optional price points," Mr. Tansky said. "We moved as fast as we could
for fall" in bringing in the lower-priced items, he added. "But we had
a greater time to plan" for spring 2010, so "you'll see more."
The less costly replicas of high-end designer goods are critical to
turning around the chain's declining sales and earnings. Neiman Marcus
and its New York flagship Bergdorf Goodman store have been
traditionally among the most successful of retailers in sales per
square foot. But the retailer has struggled through 18 months of
declining monthly comparable-store sales, and the company is saddled by
$3 billion in debt.
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