Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Neiman asks, did the media steal Christmas?

January 13, 2009

neimanNeiman Marcus chief Burt Tansky had some choice words for retail reporters last night, saying they had unfairly influenced the outcome of the 2008 holiday shopping season well before it even started. He was referring to stories that came out as early as September, like this one, predicting that holiday sales could be the worst in up to two decades because of the bad economy.

“I think the media have done us a terrible disservice,” Tansky said at an evening event sponsored by Financo Inc during the annual National Retail Federation conference in New York, attended by our own Karen Jacobs. “The media, I think, should start thinking about the impact they are having on retail.”
Many of these media stories were based on predictions from leading research groups, such as Deloitte, who gave gloomy forecasts due to the global financial crisis, the U.S. housing slump and credit crunch. 
And when retail chains finally began to take down the tinsel after the holidays, their performance proved even worse than that, with sales dropping for the first time in the nearly 40 years they have been tracked.
We didn’t know it last night, but Tansky may have had other reasons to be piqued than our role in bringing the bad news. Neiman today said it would start making interest payments on some of its senior notes by issuing more debt, rather than using cash, and planned to fire 3 percent of its workforce.
The news comes barely a week after Neiman posted a 31.2 percent drop in same-store sales at its unit that is home to the Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman stores.

(Photo of a Neiman Marcus gift book from a Christmas past: Reuters)


I completely agree, the media did a disservice to our economy. I knew what shape it was in I didn’t need to turn on the television to see it everyday. The media should express more a positive light to what is going on. I mean they lie to us everyday regarding everything else. So why not on this?

Posted by Layla | Report as abusive

Sounds like sour grapes and a feeble attempt to scapegoat. With the massive layoffs in the 4Q nationwide, the horrible state of the economy, events like 4 dollars gas this summer and the Madoff scandal just before Xmas. The news media got it right, furthermore I think lots of folks saw this one coming.
Personally, we did cut on our gift giving buget this year. But, we did ramped up our contributions to the local food banks in our area which were seeing record high requests for help. I think we learned a great lesson about giving this year.

Posted by Mike Bailey | Report as abusive

first the media should have alerted everyone about the fincial crisis earlier, and now they acted too soon. I guess you can’t please everyone.

Posted by drewbie | Report as abusive

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see