Neiman Marcus results show the latest sign of department store life
The demise of department stores has been predicted for years. Companies including Bon-Ton, J.C. Penney, Lord & Taylor and Sears continue to feed this narrative, but they are far from the full story. Others — namely Kohl’s, Macy’s and Neiman Marcus — have been trending upward of late with signs that they have plans in place to stay relevant to consumers beyond the next earnings report.
Neiman Marcus’ latest quarterly earnings report marked the third consecutive quarter that the luxury department store owner has seen its same-store sales increase.
“Our strategy is working, so we will continue to be laser-focused on areas that set us apart from competitors — innovation that enhances the customer experience, a strong high-performance culture and new partnerships with both emerging and industry-leading luxury brands,” said Geoffroy van Raemdonck, CEO of Neiman Marcus, in a statement. “Our customers trust us to be a curator of trends today and tomorrow, and we are delivering for them.”
One of the pillars of Neiman Marcus’ strategy was for the company to stop trying to be something it is not, namely an off-price retailer. In the fourth quarter last year, Neiman Marcus closed 11 of its Last Call off-price concept stores. It plans to shutter three more next month.
The retailer is also looking to make itself more relevant to younger consumers. Earlier this week, the company announced on Twitter the phased rollout of its Idea Factory initiative, which will include “an array of concepts, products and experiences — from piercing and personalizing of fashion products, to candle-making, epicure and custom-mixing beauty creams.”
Kohl’s and Macy’s, which have also reported stronger sales in recent quarters, are taking their own paths to growth.
Kohl’s has succeeded with its push into health and the athleisure category. It has partnered with Amazon.com on pilots to test returns to the e-tail giant in Kohl’s stores. It has also opened Amazon shops in a small number of stores. The chain has right-sized its stores in recent years and is working with other retailers, such as Aldi, to carve out adjacent space as a means to reduce costs and drive added traffic.
Macy’s, unlike Neiman Marcus, has found success with its Backstage off-price concept, which it has been adding to its full-price stores. The chain’s recent acquisition of the STORY experiential retail concept has been seen by many as a means for the company to bring some excitement back to the shopping experience at Macy’s.
- Neiman Marcus Group LTD LLC Reports Third Quarter Results – Neiman Marcus Group/Business Wire
- Neiman Marcus – Twitter
- Will others follow Neiman Marcus’ return to a full-price focus? – RetailWire
- Macy’s latest acquisition is all about STORYtelling – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you take from the recent sales success of Kohl’s, Macy’s and Neiman Marcus? Will the actions taken by these companies help recast the image of department stores in the minds of American consumers?