Wednesday, Jul 27, 2016
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Luxury retailer marks return to doing what it does best

NEW YORK - So much for ostentation being gauche in the new U.S. economy.

Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus published its 2010 holiday gift catalog this week, marking a return to excess after recession frugality.

Items for sale include a $1.5 million privately commissioned art installation by glass sculptor Dale Chihuly for the bottom of a swimming pool. Spending $250,000 gets you a his-and-hers luxury houseboat.

In 2009, Neiman Marcus offered a more modest catalog in deference to tough times. But as the wealthy gain confidence, they spend more money on luxuries.

"There's a segment of the population that has gotten even wealthier: Goldman Sachs bankers, Silicon Valley venture capitalists," said Milton Pedraza, chief executive of consulting firm Luxury Institute. "They have so much money, they don't know what to do with it. They're in the mood to spend and that's what Neiman Marcus is tapping into."

Neiman Marcus Group, which includes the eponymous chain and Bergdorf Goodman, is rebounding. In the most recent quarter, combined same-store sales at both chains rose 6.5 percent.

Other standout items in Neiman's Christmas Book catalog include an edible, life-size gingerbread playhouse with a price tag of $15,000. For $75,000, car lovers can drive a 2011 Neiman Marcus Edition Camaro convertible.

The catalog, which began as a Christmas card for shoppers in 1915, showcases the latest in fashion, shoes, and luxury items from jewelry to wallets.

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