Direct Sales Slide at Neiman

First-quarter direct marketing sales for luxury goods merchant Neiman Marcus Group were $147.3 million, down 7.2% from $158.7 million in the same quarter last year. In addition to the flagship retail chain, the Dallas-based company mails the Neiman Marcus and Horchow apparel and home decor catalogs, and owns high-end New York retailer Bergdorf Goodman.

For the quarter ended Oct. 31, total company revenue fell 12%, to $868.9 million, down from $985.8 million in the first quarter last year. Same-store sales decreased 13.7%. Operating earnings for the quarter dropped 8.3%, to $74.8 million, compared to $81.6 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2009.

Neiman Marcus Group chairman/CEO Burton M. Tansky said he was pleased with the results as the company focused on full-price selling, inventory management and expense control. This resulted in improved gross margin and EBITDA rates.

What’s more, Tansky said, “we further strengthened our balance sheet, ending the quarter with cash of $319 million, an increase of over $200 million from last year. Also, we achieved our inventory reduction goals with ending inventory down approximately 20% compared to last year.”