Neiman Marcus

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Neiman Marcus

<tr><td colspan="2" style="text-align:center; padding:16px 0 16px 0;">Image:Neiman Marcus Logo.gif</td></tr>

Type Department store
Founded 1907
Headquarters Dallas, Texas, USA

<tr><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Industry</th><td>Retail</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Products</th><td>Clothing, footwear, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, electronics, and housewares.</td></tr><tr><th style="text-align:right; padding-right:0.75em;">Website</th><td></td></tr>

Neiman Marcus is an upscale, specialty, retail department store, operated by the Neiman Marcus Group in the United States. The company is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and competes with such establishments as Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue. The Neiman Marcus Group also operates the exclusive Bergdorf Goodman specialty, retail department stores on Fifth Avenue in New York City and a direct marketing division, Neiman Marcus Direct, which operates catalogue and online operations under the "Horchow," "Neiman Marcus" and "Bergdorf Goodman" names.


[edit] History

Image:NM Dallas.jpg
The Neiman Marcus headquarters and flagship store on Main Street in downtown Dallas, Texas.

Herbert Marcus, Sr., his sister Carrie Marcus Neiman and her husband, A. L. Neiman, came from Atlanta, Georgia with $25,000 to found the Neiman-Marcus retail establishment in Dallas, Texas, on September 10 1907. Ironically, before the family members came to Dallas, they had an opportunity to invest in a new "sugary soda pop business" in Atlanta. The family decided to pass on investing in the business, which later became Coca-Cola.<ref name="HandbookALN">Neiman, Abraham Lincoln from the Handbook of Texas Online</ref> For this reason, early company CEO Stanley Marcus was quoted in 1957 as saying the company was "founded on bad business judgment."<ref name="Schack">William Schack, "Neiman-Marcus of Texas" (article), Commentary 24:3, 213, September 1957.</ref>

In 1913, a fire destroyed the Neiman Marcus store and its merchandise. A temporary store was set up and opened in just 17 days.<ref name="nmoverview">Historical timeline, from Neiman Marcus Online</ref> By 1914, Neiman Marcus reopened in its new, permanent location, on Main Street at Ervay Street. With the opening of this flagship store, Neiman Marcus increased its product selection to include accessories, lingerie and children's clothing, as well as expanding the women's apparel department. In 1929, it began offering menswear. The Main Street building, which many now call the 'original' Neiman Marcus, was given state historic landmark status by the Texas Historical Commission in 1982.

In 1927, Neiman Marcus premiered the first weekly retail fashion show in the United States.<ref name="timeline">Stanley Marcus Timeline Texas Monthly, March 2002</ref>

In 1971, the first Neiman Marcus outside Texas opened in Bal Harbour, Florida. In subsequent years, stores have opened in over 30 cities across the United States, including Chicago, Atlanta, Beverly Hills, San Francisco and Las Vegas.

In the late 1990s, the company started a small boutique concept called the 'Galleries of Neiman Marcus', which sold jewelry, gifts and home accessories. The concept struggled and ultimately all three locations, Seattle, Cleveland and Phoenix, were shut. Some believe the locations were wrong and Neiman Marcus officials have hinted the concept might be resurrected.[citation needed] In 1999,, and the store's online gift registry, debuted under the control of Neiman Marcus Group's Neiman Marcus Direct division.

On January 22, 2002, Neiman Marcus and the fashion world alike mourned the death of Stanley Marcus, who had served as president and chairman of the board for the company. Marcus had been the architect behind many of the store's most famous innovations, including the fashion shows, New York advertising for a strictly regional chain, in-store art exhibitions, and the Christmas catalog with its outlandish His-and-Hers gifts, including vicuña coats, a pair of airplanes, "Noah's Ark" (including pairs of animals), camels, and live tigers.<ref name="Schack">Commentary</ref><ref name="nmoverview">NM Historical Timeline</ref><ref name="aaf">Stanley Marcus, Advertising Hall of Fame</ref>Long since retired from his chairmanship of the company, Stanley Marcus was nonetheless one of the last remaining ties to its original ownership.

Over the last 20 years, ownership of Neiman Marcus has passed through several hands. In June 1987, the company was spun-off from its retail parent, Carter Hawley Hale Stores, and became a publicly listed company. General Cinema, later to become Harcourt General, still had a roughly 60% controlling interest until 1999, when Neiman Marcus was fully spun-off from its parent company. On May 2, 2005, Neiman Marcus Group was the subject of a leveraged buyout (LBO), selling itself to two private equity firms, Texas Pacific Group and Warburg Pincus.<ref name="CNNmoney">Neiman Marcus in $5.1B buyout CNN Money, May 2, 2005</ref>

[edit] Neiman Marcus today

Unlike many of its department-store contemporaries, Neiman Marcus is still in operation today under the original name and is still headquartered in the city where it began. The Neiman Marcus Group comprises the Specialty Retail stores division — which includes Neiman Marcus Stores and Bergdorf Goodman — and the Direct Marketing division, Neiman Marcus Direct. These retailers offer upscale assortments of apparel, accessories, jewelry, beauty and decorative home products. The company operates 37 Neiman Marcus stores across the United States and two Bergdorf Goodman stores, in Manhattan. Neiman Marcus' largest market is the South Florida MSA, where they operate five stores. The company also operates 16 Last Call clearance centers. These store operations total more than 5 million square feet (500,000 m²) gross.

Image:Neiman Marcus at Town Center at Boca Raton.JPG
The exterior of a typical Neiman Marcus department store at Town Center at Boca Raton located in Boca Raton, Florida.

Neiman Marcus Direct, conducts both print catalog and online operations under the Neiman Marcus, Horchow and Bergdorf Goodman brand names. Under the Neiman Marcus brand, Neiman Marcus Direct primarily offers women's apparel, accessories and home furnishings. Horchow offers upscale home furnishings, linens, decorative accessories and tabletop items.

The Company also owns majority interests in two designer resources: Kate Spade, a manufacturer of accessories, and Gurwitch Products, which manufactures Laura Mercier cosmetics. Other luxury retailers that compete with Neiman Marcus include Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York.

Since 1987, Neiman Marcus has accepted merchandise transactions using only its proprietary store credit cards, American Express cards, cash or check for purchases in the retail stores. However, Neiman Marcus is quietly testing the acceptance of Visa and MasterCard at a store in Missouri, as well as in several in-store restaurants in California. (Neiman Marcus has accepted all major credit cards for online purchases since the website opened in 1999.) After Neiman Marcus sold its store credit card business to HSBC in mid-2005, some insiders say that the company will make the changes chainwide later in 2006, along with adding a co-branded Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit card issued by HSBC, which the five-year agreement with HSBC allows.[citation needed]

Since 1939, Neiman Marcus has issued an annual Christmas catalog, which gets much free publicity from the national media for a tradition of unusual and extravagant gifts not otherwise sold in its stores. Some have included the 'his and hers' themed item, trips and cars (see below), to name a few.

[edit] theshowroom of Neiman Marcus

In the fall of 2004, Neiman Marcus launched a new store within a store concept, theshowroom of Neiman Marcus. This new department is dedicated to selling the high-end furniture and home collections previously only available through Neiman Marcus companion catalogues, The Horchow Collection and NM by Mail. The six Neiman Marcus stores that house the collection are located in Plano-Dallas MSA (Willow Bend), San Francisco (Union Square), Scottsdale (Fashion Square), Chicago (Michigan Avenue), Oak Brook (Oakbrook Center) and Minneapolis (Nicollet Mall).

[edit] Holiday catalog cars

Neiman Marcus has often offered limited-edition automobiles in its holiday catalogs. These are usually coordinated with manufacturers as a publicity stunt, though the cars themselves are normally special versions unavailable from other sources and produced in limited numbers.[citation needed]

1970 "His and Hers" Ford Thunderbird
1995 BMW Z3 James Bond edition
1996 GMC Suburban Sony edition
1997 Audi TT
1997 Ducati 748L
1998 BMW X5
1998 Aston Martin DB7
2000 Lexus SC 430
2001 Ford Thunderbird (200)
2002 Cadillac XLR (101)
2003 BMW 645Ci
2004 Maserati Quattroporte (at $125,000)
2005 Lexus GS 450h (75 at $65,000)
2006 BMW M6

An apocryphal story holds that during the Apollo 8 mission in December 1968, Marilyn Lovell, wife of astronaut Jim Lovell, who was the Command Module Pilot, received, as a Christmas present, a mink coat that was delivered to her by a Neiman Marcus driver in a Rolls-Royce car. The coat was wrapped in shiny blue wrapping paper with two styrofoam balls — one for the Earth and the other for the Moon — and had a card that read, "To Marilyn, from the Man in the Moon." [citation needed]

[edit] Criticism

Image:Neiman Carcass.gif
A parody of the Neiman Marcus logo against their fur industry.

Due to the high prices of much of its upscale merchandise, Neiman Marcus is sometimes called "Needless Markup."<ref>Listing of four print references to the 'Needless Markup' nickname, including the Historical Dictionary of American Slang</ref>

Some animal-rights activists claim that Neiman Marcus' fur sales contribute to the unnecessary deaths of millions of animals every year. While the company claims that it is humane to farm animals for fur, other groups, such as PETA, cite the fact that there are no laws ensuring humane care on US fur farms.<ref name="carcass">Neiman Carcass - About</ref>

[edit] Neiman Marcus in popular culture

[edit] Urban legend: The $250 cookie recipe

The store is featured in an urban legend involving a supposed recipe for its popular chocolate chip cookie. In the legend, a woman and her daughter enjoy a cookie while shopping at Neiman Marcus in Dallas, Texas, and ask for the recipe. The waiter informs her there will be a "two-fifty" charge, which the woman interprets as a measly $2.50. Upon receiving her VISA statement, she is shocked to discover she has been charged $250.00 instead. In revenge, she photocopies the recipe and urges her friends to distribute it for free to everyone they know so that the store will make no further profit on its sale. Because the story typically was passed along as a photocopy, it falls in the legend subcategory of Xeroxlore.

Folklorists have pointed out three chief holes in the story: (1) Neiman Marcus does not accept Visa for any purchase; (2) prior to the emergence of the legend, the store did not have a chocolate chip cookie<ref>That's One Expensive Cookie, at</ref>; and (3) a similar story has been around since the 1940s, originally involving a red velvet cake recipe from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. It wasn't until the 1980s that the story's focus shifted to cookies. (The cookie version of the story originally was attached to Mrs. Fields Cookies, causing that company eventually to post disavowals of the notices at all its stores.) Although the story is untrue, Neiman Marcus nonetheless posted a cookie recipe on its web site to quell rumors.

[edit] Popular media

Neiman Marcus' international notoriety has led to its inclusion in many popular media. Television sitcoms can quickly convey someone's wealth by making the character a Neiman-Marcus shopper, as was done with Blair Warner of the 1980s sitcom The Facts of Life.[citation needed] Similarly, in an episode of A Different World in which the well-to-do Whitley Gilbert must return all her credit cards to her father, she is especially loath to give up her Neiman's card and reminisces wistfully over past N-M purchases.<ref name="ADW">"Whitley's Last Supper," season four, episode 73 of A Different World, aired October 11, 1990.</ref>

The store is mentioned in a number of minor ways in other media. It is said that the shopping scenes from Blu Cantrell's "Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!)" were filmed at a Neiman Marcus store[citation needed], and the adventure game Nethack involves a buried joke in which the player is told, "You hear Neiman and Marcus arguing" while hallucinating on a game level that includes a shop. American parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic released a song entitled "I'll Sue Ya" on his album Straight Outta Lynwood that satirizes America's fame for frivolous lawsuits; in the song, the singer jokes about various lawsuits he has filed, including suing Neiman Marcus because they "put up their Christmas decorations way out of season."

[edit] Store locations

See List of Neiman Marcus locations.

Neiman Marcus currently has stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. The chain will expand to the Pacific Northwest in 2009 when it plans to open a store in Bellevue, Washington. <ref>The Bravern</ref>

[edit] References


[edit] External links

fr:Neiman Marcus ja:ニーマン・サーカス

Neiman Marcus

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