Neiman Marcus to close most discount stores, focus on luxury

NEW YORK (AP) — Neiman Marcus is ditching the off-price business and focussing on its high-end customers.

The privately-held luxury retailer said that it’s closing more than half of its remaining 22 Last Call stores, which sold designer brands at big discounts. The company said on Wednesday the moves, which will result in 500 job cuts over the next eight months, are designed to free up resources to better focus on high-end customers.

As part of those efforts, the Dallas-based company is combining the online and store teams and will shift the role of sales associates to what it calls trusted client advisers who will help customers not just buy products but help them with dining options and other services like beauty and wardrobe styling.

Neiman Marcus will also eliminate 250 non-selling associates.

Neiman Marcus Group CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck told The Associated Press that 40 per cent of the company’s sales are coming from customers who spend on average USD50,000 a year.

Van Raemdonck said that bringing its stores online and equipping them with the best leadership, tools and support positions the retailer to deliver on its commitment to “’building long-term, deep customer relationships.”

The company also said it plans to sell two Texas distribution centres.

Van Raemdonck declined to comment on how business has been affected by the new spreading virus, which is now being declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a pandemic.