Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Old gift cards boost Neiman Marcus

September 24, 2008

neiman-marcus.jpgCheck Out luxury department store Neiman Marcus saying their sales took a hit as even wealthy customers feel the pinch of the troubled U.S. economy, although the quarter was somewhat bolstered by customers digging out old gift cards.

Neiman Marcus‘ quarterly sales dropped 4.9 percent to $1.03 billion and comparable-store sales were down 1.4 percent.

Those in need of a luxury fix but wary of spending dug into their wallets and found old gift certificates – Neiman said it recorded $6 million in income related to aged gift cards.

Department stores have felt the pinch of higher gas and food prices and difficulty securing credit, issues that have forced customers to trim discretionary spending in favor of the necessities.

Even affluent shoppers have started to scale back spending as they lose confidence in their stock portfolios, which has hurt luxury retailers like Saks and Nordstrom.

Also in the basket:

Lowe’s cuts ’09 store growth, backs ’08 profit view (Reuters)

Laura Ashley cautious on outlook after profit rise (Reuters)

(Photo/Reuters)

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