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Taking It Off the Top for the Economy: What The Lodge and Neimans Have in Common

Observer contributing photographer Brandon Thibodeaux landed himself quite the gig: shooting local strip joints for today's Wall Street Journal story about how gentlemen's clubs are "striping down" (hawhawhaw) their upscale offerings to lure in customers afeared of dropping major coin in a down economy. All the usual suspects are there, among them The Lodge (where they've "lowered drink prices and extended the club's happy hours in a program marketed as 'the Lodge stimulus package'") and Rick's all-nude Club XTC.

And speaking of local businesses getting national attention for going downmarket, there's this analysis concerning the fate of Neiman Marcus, which yesterday reported (yet again) precipitous declines in quarterly revenue. During Wednesday's conference call, CEO Burton Tansky revealed he's taking Mister Stanley's store in a whole 'nother direction:

In order to offset lower sales, the company disclosed a merchandising strategy which will mix in more lower-priced goods while still trying to maintain the premium image. "We're not vacating the top price point," CEO Burton Tansky said on the conference call. However, implementing the strategy will take time -- in the meantime, the company will continue to offer promotional events to try and boost sales, and also described cost-cutting measures which are expected to reduce capital spending in its next fiscal year by 25%. Earlier this year, they announced plans to reduce the workforce by about 3%, on top of the roughly 18% they have cut over the last 2 years. They will also re-examine planned store openings and work with suppliers to obtain a better product mix.

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