Neiman Marcus Rebrands Contemporary Fashion Shops

May 30, 2012

Back in 2006 when Neiman Marcus launched its Cusp contemporary fashion concept with two standalone stores, the company was hoping to connect with a new, twenty- or thirty-something shopper without alienating its core customer base.

At the time, CEO Burton Tansky told The Wall Street Journal that unlike the Neiman Marcus customer who wore the same designer from head to toe, the Cusp shopper "likes to mix and match her wardrobe from various designers."

Fast-forward to 2012 and there are now six standalone units, an e-commerce site ( and Neiman Marcus has just announced it will rebrand all the contemporary departments at its 42 stores as Cusp shop-in-shops.

"Integrating our free-standing specialty store concept, Cusp, into our full-line stores and e-commerce site allows us to bring fresh energy and excitement to our contemporary business and continue the progression of our omni-channel transformation," said Jim Gold, president, specialty retail, in NMDaily, the Neiman Marcus blog. "From the merchandise offering to the store vibe, Cusp has a distinctive look and attitude. … Our goal is to give our contemporary customer a fun, unique, modern and unexpected shopping experience."

Neiman Marcus announced the change along with its most recent financials in which the company posted eight percent same-store sales growth and a jump in profits of 35 percent.

Discussion Questions: What do you think of the decision by Neiman Marcus to rebrand its contemporary departments as Cusp shops? Will this boost the growth prospects of both Cusp standalone stores and

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5 Comments on "Neiman Marcus Rebrands Contemporary Fashion Shops"

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Gene Detroyer
9 years 11 months ago

CEO Burton Tansky said the Neiman Marcus customer wore the same designer from head to toe. Well, that old line Neiman Marcus customer is going away. To succeed in the future, the retailer must change. That Boomer shopper that drove the “Golden Age of Retailing” no longer has the same buying habits they once had. And soon, they will be retired, living on fixed income or will be dead.

This type of change thinking is critical for success. Retailers are notorious for sticking to the present, which quickly becomes the past. A strategic objective for any retailer is to be sure that a loyal shopper from ten years ago does not recognize the business ten years from now.

Cathy Hotka
9 years 11 months ago

Neiman’s has been on a tear over the past few years, leveraging new technologies to learn more about customer behavior and experimenting with product mixes to boost sales. Cusp brings in a younger customer who will presumably stay with NM for decades. This is how to achieve a 35% annual profit increase….

Roger Saunders
9 years 11 months ago

Cusp has captured the imagination of a niche of shoppers. Bringing those people into a the Neiman Marcus larger tent is a strategic winner. This move bakes in a younger consumer to the mother ship, while helping to expand the overall awareness of Cusp, all at a prudent investment cost.

Sharp move.

Lee Kent
9 years 11 months ago

Very smart move! Gen Y loves to mix it up, layer it, bejewel it, etc., and NM figured that out and is making it work. Here’s to the future of Retail!

Craig Sundstrom
9 years 11 months ago

My initial thought was “what’s in a name?” A number of commentators here have suggested elements of strategy, which somewhat answers my question, but in the end I still end up with that same thought: the same younger generation-whatevers who wield smart phones — and giant PayPal balances — are probably connected enough to figure out the NM angle, regardless of what letters hang in front of the merchandise.


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