US department store Neiman Marcus has revealed today that it is exploring strategic options which may include a sale of the business. Hudson’s Bay Company, the Canadian group which owns Saks Fifth Avenue, is being tipped as a likely purchaser.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Neiman Marcus, which abandoned a planned January IPO, is already talking to the Canadian group but any deal struck would be unlikely to include its $5bn debt. Hudson’s Bay Co was said to be interested in mainstream department store group Macy’s but has redirected its attentions to Neiman Marcus having learned of its potential availability.
Neiman Marcus’ situation is a reflection of the general slow-down in footfall at US malls, which has hit retailers in those locations hard. The business, which also owns the upscale Bergdorf Goodman stores and luxury multi brand etailer My-theresa.com, has been trying hard to attract a younger customer and build its e-commerce business. Last year it teamed up with e-commerce start-up Rent the Runway in a bid to reach more Millennials (18-35 year olds).
The news came as the Dallas-based store group revealed its numbers for its second fiscal quarter ending 28 January. The numbers revealed that sales at stores open for at least a year fell 6.8% while it recorded a net loss of $117.1m in the period, a figure that was hampered by a write-down in value of its brand and other assets by $153.8m during the quarter.
Neiman Marcus was founded in 1907 and has stores in 42 US locations, it was bought in 2013 by Ares Management and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.