Neiman Marcus Considering Sale

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The Neiman Marcus Group Inc. is exploring the possible sale of the company, the Dallas-based retailer reported yesterday.


The company retained Goldman Sachs & Co. as its financial adviser to assist in exploring strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value, including the possible sale of the company, it said in a statement. Neiman Marcus also stated that there is no assurance that the process will result in a specific transaction.


The news follows last month's announcement that Federated Department Stores Inc. is acquiring May Department Stores Co. for $11 billion.


Neiman Marcus operates in the retail, online and catalog channels under the Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman brands. Yesterday, the company reported that it would close a store in Houston in mid-September. Its holdings in the direct channel also include the Horchow catalog and Web site. In November, Neiman Marcus sold Chef's Catalog to Pikes Peak Direct Marketing Inc.


The company is best known in direct marketing circles for its annual Christmas Book, which typically contains many unique and pricey items that most of us won't find under the tree on Dec. 25.


Last year's book, distributed to 2 million homes, included a His and Hers Bowling Center, beginning at $1.45 million; a Neiman Marcus limited-edition 2005 Maserati Quattroporte for $125,000; and a custom suit of armor for $20,000.


On March 2, Neiman Marcus reported a 6.5 percent increase in sales for the four weeks ended Feb. 26. Sales totaled $275 million for the month.


Comparable revenue in the specialty retail stores segment, which includes Neiman Marcus stores and Bergdorf Goodman, rose 6.6 percent in the period. In the Neiman Marcus Direct division, comparable revenue increased 20.2 percent in February.


Chantal Todé covers catalog and retail news and BTB marketing for DM News and DM News.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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