Discount stores

Neiman Marcus will close most discount stores and focus on luxury

NEW YORK — Neiman Marcus is abandoning the off-price business and focusing on its high-end customers.

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

As part of these efforts, the Dallas-based company is combining online and in-store teams and will transition the role of salespeople to what it calls Trusted Customer Advisors who will help customers not only purchase products, but will help with catering options and other services. like beauty and wardrobe style. Neiman Marcus will also eliminate 250 non-selling associates.

Neiman Marcus Group CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck told The Associated Press that 40% of the company’s sales come from customers who spend an average of $50,000 a year.

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

The company also announced plans to sell two distribution centers in Texas.

Van Raemdonck declined to comment on how business has been affected by the spreading new virus, which is now declared by the World Health Organization to be a pandemic. But van Raemdonck said it will have an impact on the economy, although he is unsure how long it will last. He noted that the company has set up an emergency team to deal with various scenarios.

“It’s very uncertain, but we have to keep a cool head and not panic,” said Van Raemdonck. “We have to be agile and decisive.”

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