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قديم(ـة) 05-18-2014, 02:57 PM
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Ford's new fragrance? With its masculine, angular brown and gold bottle, the latest scent (140) in the designer's exclusive Private Blend collection certainly looks like men's aftershave.
One spritz later, and it certainly smells like a man's scent. But it is, apparently, designed to be unisex, a fact confirmed by the assistant at the Tom Ford counter in Brown Thomas.
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Good day, everyone, and welcome to the Neiman Marcus Q4 fiscal 2008 earnings call. Today's call is being recorded. And for opening remarks and introductions I'd like to turn the program over to Ms. Stacie Shirley. Please go ahead, Ma'am.This is Stacie Shirley, Vice President of Finance and Treasurer for Neiman Marcus. Joining me on the call is Jim Skinner, Executive Vice President and CFO, and Burt Tansky, President and CEO of Neiman Marcus. Burt will provide some highlights for the quarter as well as an update on business. Then Jim and I will discuss some of the details of our financial results.But first, a few housekeeping items. The call today involves our view of the future for the businesses that make up Neiman Marcus, Inc. In these statements referring to the expected future plans and performance of Neiman Marcus are forward looking statements and actual future results may differ materially from such statements. Please refer to our SEC filings where we include a description of the factors and risks that might cause our future results to differ from what we will be discussing today.Unless noted otherwise, all references to our results exclude the impact of purchase accounting adjustments and other transaction adjustments related to the acquisition of the company in October of 2005. In addition, unless noted otherwise, all statements reflect the sale of [Kate's Bay] and the financial statements have been restated to treat them as discontinued operations.One last note, our fiscal year 2008 included a 53rd week. Unless otherwise stated, the results for our fourth quarter and fiscal year 2008 are reported on a 14 and 53 week basis respectively. However, revenues in the 53rd week are not included in our comparable revenue or sales per square foot calculation. For fiscal 2007 all results are reported on a 13 and 52 week basis. For more details please refer to our 10K, which we filed this morning.With that I will turn the call over to Burt.Good morning and thank you for joining us today to review our fourth quarter and fiscal year end results. No question about it, fiscal 2008 was a challenging year for us and for most retailers. We began to experience a slowing of consumer demand in the fall. This weakness continued and deepened over the course of our fiscal year. We responded quickly to this downturn by stimulating sales through promotional events, reducing inventory levels, and implementing expense controls. Although our efforts did not completely counteract the effect of the economic downturn, we were able to mitigate the impact of our results.I'm proud of our team's response to the difficult environment. We pride ourselves at being good managers on the downside as well as on the upside. I am concerned that fiscal year 2009 will again test our downside skills. But now let me review some of our fiscal year end financial results.We ended the year with sales of $4.6 billion. Comparable revenues increased 1.7%, which was primarily due to the strength of our Internet business and the retail sales that remained robust in New York City and resulted in record sales and results at Bergdorf Goodman. The 1.7% comp increase was on top of a 6.7% comp sale increase in the prior year.The areas where we experienced the greatest relative strength included precious jewellery with particular strength in the most luxurious and I may add the most expensive pieces; beauty, which includes cosmetics and fragrance; shoes, both men's and women's; and designer handbags. In addition, our last call division experienced strong results.As expected, the aspirational shopper has been impacted most by the downturn. Aspirational shoppers include the customers that typically purchase at our opening price point level and the occasional shopper who has an interest in a specific area, such as shoes, handbags, or jewellery. She is buying less during this time, but we are certain that she continues to have a strong desire for the quality of merchandise and level of customer service we offer. We believe this customer will return to a more normal pattern of shopping as the economy rebounds.As for our most loyal customer, we remain confident that she has not traded down. During difficult economic times this pure luxury customer becomes more focused with her purchasing, which is what we believe we are experiencing this cycle. Market downturns create an uncertainty with this customer also and her desire to shop at the same frequency does diminish. However, this affluent customer is very resilient and will not waver in her desire for the highest level of merchandise quality and customer service.Importantly, with the slowdown in the retail environment and the impact of opening new stores, which can be less productive in the first few years of operation, we did not lose ground from a productivity standpoint in specialty retail. Sales per square foot were relatively flat at $634 for the year compared to $638 last year. We continue to hold an industry leading position in terms of productivity. If we exclude the three stores we have opened over the past two years sales per square foot would have been $649.Gross margin, as you might have expected, has been under pressure. The fiscal 2008 gross margin rate was 36.2, which is a decline of approximately 110 basis points from last year.As I mentioned earlier, when it became apparent that demand would fall short of our expectations we moved aggressively to bring inventory in line with sales. We took actions to minimize our inventory exposure, including cancelling orders, returning things to vendors, and working with our vendor partners to support the needed markdowns. Even with these actions our inventory was above our plans and, therefore, we added promotional events and increased the value of the events already in our plans. As a result, we incurred higher markdowns which negatively impacted gross margin, but at the same time helped to further liquidate our inventory.Partially offsetting margin decline was an improvement in our expense rate. For the year our adjusted operating income declined to $537 million, which represents a decrease of only 2.4%. Despite the decline we experienced in our gross margin rate, our adjusted operating margin rate for the year remained a strong 11.7%.It is important to note that fiscal 2007 was an outstanding year and we achieved our highest results ever, which put even more pressure on fiscal 2008. Although 2008 was lower than fiscal 2007, fiscal 2008 operating income and margin represents our second highest results in our history.Jim and Stacey will take you through the remaining details of the fiscals in a moment, including our divisional results. But first, let me provide you with a brief update of our current business activities. Let me assure you our focus remains on the long term success of our company, which means continuing to invest in our businesses while applying the strictest return hurdles to our capital projects.At our speciality retail stores division, which includes Neiman Marcus stores and Bergdorf Goodman, our plans for remodels and new stores remain intact. We have just opened our 40th full line Neiman Marcus store in Topanga, which is in the San Fernando Valley in California. The store is beautiful and we are confident about the long term prospects for this location.At the charity event the night before the opening I was very impressed with the customers' enthusiasm and it was immediately clear to us that this is our customer. I don't believe I have ever seen so much shopping during a pre opening event.We have publicly announced six additional locations, including a 125,000 square foot store in Bellevue, Washington a suburb of Seattle our first store in this market. The store is planned to open next year in the fall of 2009. We recently announced a new store plan for Walnut Creek, which is in northern California's East Bay. This location is approximately 110,000 square feet and is planned to open in the fall of 2010. Also in the Fall of 2010 is an 80,000 square foot store in Sarasota, Florida, a 90,000 square foot store in Princeton, New Jersey, in the Fall of 2011, and just last week we announced a store also scheduled to open in the Fall of 2011 in San Jose, California. This location is planned at 120,000 square feet. And lastly, we are still planning a 150,000 square foot store in Oyster Bay, New York, which is at the north shore of Long Island.As for remodels, the Atlanta store was totally redone and we added approximately 50,000 square feet. This renovation was completed just a few months ago. In addition, we completed a smaller remodel of our Westchester store. This project involved refreshing the whole store as well as relocating and reallocating space in the store to provide more square footage to the most productive merchandise categories. We are in the planning stages of two more major renovations that will begin in fiscal 2009, as well as a number of minor remodels.Over the course of the past year we have continued to invest in capital projects at Bergdorf Goodman. Among other things, we remodelled part of the main floor in the jewellery area, including adding a private viewing room. We also added over 1,600 square feet to the jewellery area, which is on Bergdorf's main floor and is very, very productive. We are very pleased with these changes and anticipate these projects will produce a substantial amount of revenue. We have also remodelled portions of the third, fifth, and seventh floor to add additional capacity. These capital projects contribute to the strong 8% sales increase Bergdorf experienced this year.We have additional projects for fiscal 2009 that will ensure we are providing our customer with the most luxurious shopping experience in New York City. One very important project is the remodel of the 57th Street room, which will house a number of our most important accessory designers. We have just opened a new Chanel accessories shop in an adjacent area and early sales have been very strong and encouraging for the long term viability of this part of the store.In addition to full line stores we plan to open another four last call clearance centres over the next 12 months. This will bring our total to 28. As a reminder, our strategy as it relates to clearance differs somewhat from our competitors. Essentially, we view the clearance stores as an efficient way to liquidate inventory from our full price stores. What's more, most importantly, we want to ensure our customers receive an outstanding Neiman Marcus experience.During this challenging time sales at our last call stores have remained strong. Over the past two years we've added infrastructure to support the growth of this business and we continue to believe there is still more opportunity in this area.The last update on real estate relates to our newest concept, Cusp. We recently opened our fifth Cusp store in Chestnut Hill, a suburb of Boston, this past August. The store is approximately 6,000 square feet, which is more in line with our planned future locations. We remain very pleased with these stores and are excited about the prospects of this concept. We believe that we are branding our market share and we are reaching a new, younger customer. We are planning to open an additional four to six new Cusp stores over the next 12 to 15 months. We are in the process now of securing locations for these new sites and will keep you updated.In addition, we continue to invest in our other non real estate related projects as well. This past year we began a multi year project that will support our future growth. The first phase of the project was the implementation of both equipment and process changes designed to improve the allocation of inventory on a store by store basis. The remaining phases involve many areas of the company, but will primarily be focused on merchant organizations in the logistics area. We believe this investment will ultimately result in improved merchandise sell through and enhanced gross margin.
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For evening, Lagerfeld went on a space odyssey, with silver lam adding a futuristic feel. Gowns had full skirts, some festooned with frills and others with vaunting sleeves reminiscent of Princess Leia in Star Wars. No matter that some of the frilly cropped boleros looked like your grandmother's bed jackets: they were Chanel bed jackets.
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