Neiman Marcus Q1 Profit Jumps as Comp Sales Rise

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The 2011 "Christmas Book" from Neiman Marcus

Dallas—Affluent shoppers evidently don’t need doorbuster deals to lure them into Neiman Marcus or Bergdorf Goodman. Today, Neiman Marcus Group Inc. reported today that its first quarter profit soared 88% as its shoppers continued their strong spending patterns.

For the quarter ended Oct. 29, Neiman Marcus posted a net profit of $48.4 million nearly double the $25.7 million reported in its first quarter last year.

Besides sales increases, the results benefitted from a net interest expense decline of 26%.

Total revenues increased 7.8% to $1 billion compared to $927.2 million last year. Total comparable store sales increased 8%.

Visa, MasterCard Now Accepted at Neiman’s Stores

At the group’s specialty store division, which includes Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Last Call outlets, sales grew more than 9% to $811.1 million. At its direct-marketing segment, which includes Internet and catalog operations, sales grew 15%.

Gross margin edged up to 39.4% from 39.3% on lower costs and more regular price sales.

The company ended the quarter with its long-term debt at $2.68 billion, down 6.9% from a year earlier. The debt load is a result of the of $5.1 billion leveraged buyout in 2005 by its current owners, private-equity investors TPG Capital and Warburg Pincus LLC.

In other recent news with the luxurygoods retailer, Neiman Marcus began accepting Visa and MasterCard at its Neiman’s stores in an effort to cultivate younger shoppers. Previously, the company only accepted credit cards on its website and at Bergdorf Goodman, but its Neiman Marcus stores had only accepted cash, American Express cards or Neiman Marcus cards.