Sep 9, 2009
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Neiman Marcus posts wider fourth quarter net loss

Sep 9, 2009

SEATTLE, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Upscale retailer Neiman Marcus Inc [NMRCUS.UL] posted a much wider net loss on Tuesday 8 September, as it recorded a noncash impairment charge and faced a steep decline in demand for expensive merchandise.

Neiman Marcus

Like other high-end retailers, Neiman Marcus has faced a deep pullback from well-heeled shoppers in past months and has cut costs and reduced inventory levels to offset weak demand.

But in a possible sign that the decline may not worsen, its peer and upscale jeweler Tiffany & Co (TIF.N) pointed to slightly recovering demand for jewelry late last month, even as it remained cautious about the economy.

Neiman Marcus' net loss was $168.5 million in the fiscal fourth quarter that ended Aug. 1, compared to a net loss of $35.6 million a year ago.

It recorded a noncash pretax impairment charge of $143.1 million in the quarter for the writedown of some assets to fair value, the company said.

On an operating basis, its loss was $192.1 million, compared to a loss of $6.2 million a year ago, Neiman Marcus said.

Sales at Neiman Marcus, which sells pricey designer merchandise in its namesake and Bergdorf Goodman stores, fell to $768.1 million from $1.03 billion a year earlier.

Same-store sales fell 23.4 percent in the quarter.

As of Aug. 1, it had 23 percent less merchandise than a year ago, and cut $183 million in costs, Chief Executive Burton Tansky said in a statement.

Neiman Marcus was acquired by an investor group led by Texas Pacific Group and Warburg Pincus LLC in October 2005. (Reporting by Aarthi Sivaraman in Seattle; Editing by Gary Hill)

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