Neiman shines; echoes strong results from luxe chains

May 27 - Neiman Marcus Inc's quarterly profit more than doubled on higher U.S. luxury spending and shoppers' growing willingness to pay full price for high-end dresses, shoes and handbags.

Neiman
Women shop for sweaters, jackets, and other merchandise in the St. John department of an Atlanta Neiman Marcus store (Photo: Corbis)

The performance of the U.S. stock market "directly affects" how Neiman's well-heeled clientele feels, said Karen Katz, chief executive of the privately held company that runs the Neiman Marcus chain and Bergdorf Goodman.

"People feel better," Katz said on a conference call on Friday. "Luxury is selling very well and there is little price resistance" by the top-end customers.

Net income rose to $46.2 million in the fiscal third quarter from $18.5 million a year earlier.

Revenue rose 9.9 percent to $983.8 million, while comparable revenue rose 9.7 percent. Neiman's gains have continued so far in the current quarter, the company said.

Katz said sales in the most recent quarter, ended on April 30, were fueled less by gift cards than in the year-earlier period.

The company cited strong sales of women's shoes, men's clothes and handbags as well as clothing that reflected the current bohemian fashion trend.#

The privately held luxury retailer's results echoed those of rivals such as Saks Inc, Nordstrom Inc and Tiffany & Co Inc, which all reported strong sales gains in their most recent quarters.

Neiman was bought by an investor group led by private equity firm TPG Capital TPG.UL and Warburg Pincus LLC WP.UL in October 2005.

Earlier this month Neiman amended a credit facility, increasing its borrowing capacity to $700 million and extending its maturity to 2016.

The company plans to significantly increase its capital investments next year, after scaling back during the recession. Plans include store renovations and beefing up its technological capabilities.

(Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan and Martinne Geller; editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Derek Caney)

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