It was but a month ago that Neiman Marcus president and CEO Burt Tansky insisted that sooner than later, the "aspirational shopper" and "loyal customer" would once again stroll through the store's doors with money to burn. At the time, the Dallas-based high-end retailer was reporting an 84-percent plunge in first-quarter FY2009 profits. And in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company was significantly more pragmatic than its optimistic boss: "We expect retail demand and revenues will remain weak for an extended period of time."
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And so it is written in a morning press release, in which Neimans notes that it did not have an especially jolly Christmas. In December 2007, the company posted some $723 million in sales; a year later, that number was down to $524 million, for a drop of 27.5 percent. Says the release, "The Company experienced weakness across all geographies and merchandise categories in the Specialty Retail Stores segment," which includes Neimans and Bergdorf Goodman. Perhaps not coincidentally, an enormous half-off online-only sale begins today. --Robert Wilonsky