Financial Reports: Chico’s, Neiman Marcus

Neiman Marcus Direct Sales Up 7% in 1Q

First-quarter direct marketing sales for Dallas-based luxury goods merchant Neiman Marcus Group were $170.6 million, up 7% from the same quarter last year. In addition to the flagship retail chain, the company mails the Neiman Marcus and Horchow apparel and home decor catalogs, and owns high-end New York retailer Bergdorf Goodman.

For the quarter, total company revenue increased 8% to $1.13 billion, up from $1.04 billion in the first quarter last year. Comparable revenue increased 6.5%. Operating earnings for the quarter were $189.7 million, compared to $154.3 million for the first quarter of fiscal year 2007. Adjusted operating earnings were $175.2 million compared to $168.1 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2007.

For the four weeks ending Nov. 24, Neiman Marcus’s total sales $360 million, up 8.7% over last year. Comparable sales at Neiman Marcus Direct in the four-week period increased 4.3%. The top selling merchandise categories in the Direct Marketing segment included shoes and handbags, women’s contemporary sportswear, jewelry, and men’ pros.

Direct Sales Soar at Chico’s
Third-quarter net sales for women’s apparel merchant Chico’s FAS increased 3.4%, to $416.0 million for the three months ended Nov. 3. Net catalog and Internet sales increased 43.9% to $18 million, up from $13 million in the same quarter last year. The company attributed that to planned improvements in its Website and call center infrastructure and updated merchandising on its site.

“We are greatly disappointed with our performance to date,” Chico’s president/CEO Scott A. Edmonds said in a statement. “In 2008, we will continue to focus on improving the performance of our existing stores, expanding our direct to consumer business, and investing in design and merchandising talent, and other critical infrastructure needs.”