Dallas—Neiman Marcus Group saw its second quarter profit leap 91% as luxurygoods sales continued to improve and expense from interest fell.
For the quarter ended Jan. 28, the parent of Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman posted a net profit of $40.1 million, compared with $21 million a year ago. Its operating profit rose 21.9% to $108.7 million.
Total net revenue grew 9.2% to $1.28 billion with comparable store sales gaining 9%. By division, sales at its specialty retail, which include Neiman Marcus stores and Bergdorf Goodman, rose 8.8% to $1.02 billion. The direct market division, which includes online and catalog sales, saw revenue improve 14% as profit improved 1.9%.
Gross margin widened to 32.8% from 32.3%. And interest expense decline 22%.
Return of Aspirational Consumers?
The company reports that while its affluent shoppers have returns, it is beginning to see the return of the so-called “aspirational customer,” too.
“The customer remains discriminating,” Karen Katz, ceo, told analysts on a call today. “It’s still very different than before the recession. She’s still buying things she sees as a good value.”
The positive report builds on Neiman’s previous quarterly increases which have helped the company post stronger bottom line growth over the last year. But the company still has long term debt of $2.68 billion, down 6.9% from a year ago. The debt load results from the 2005 $5.1 billion leveraged buyout in 2005 by its current owners, private-equity investors TPG Capital and Warburg Pincus LLC.