Neiman Marcus Q1 profit triples

Dallas -- Neiman Marcus Group reported Thursday that profit for the quarter ended Oct. 30 tripled to $25.7 million, compared with $8.5 million in the year-ago period. The retailer cited more full-price selling, higher customer traffic and lower costs for the strong performance.

The operator of its namesake and Bergdorf Goodman stores saw sales rise 6.7% to $927 million. Same-store sales increased 6.4% following a 14% plunge a year ago.

Sales in Neiman's specialty retail segment rose 5.5% as operating earnings jumped 22%. The direct-marketing segment, which includes web and catalog sales, had a 13% rise in sales while profit was up 15%.

"Our sense is that customers are tired of shopping their closets and want something new," CEO Karen Katz told the Dallas Morning News. "It bears repeating, too, that with leaner inventory comes an aura of exclusivity, and our customers seem to understand that it may no longer pay to wait for the markdowns if it's something they really want."

Neiman Marcus is seeing a resurgence of its men's business as well, she said.

Katz was named CEO in October, after veteran chief Burt Tansky retired. She said the company will decide "which direction to take" with its contemporary specialty store concept called Cusp, which was launched just before the recession. And three Last Call Studio stores are being evaluated for expansion prospects.

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