Neiman's plans earlier exit from downtown Minneapolis

  • Article by: JOHN EWOLDT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 15, 2013 - 11:08 PM

Upscale retailer plans to close Jan. 26, almost a week early, but much of the store is already bare.

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Ginger Reeder, vice president of corporate communications, said closing a store is new territory. “This is our first store closing.”

Photo: Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

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Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus is heaving its last gasp in downtown Minneapolis nearly a week earlier than planned.

The "Good Buy" sale, which Neiman's is calling its final sale, will end Jan. 26. The Texas-based retailer had originally planned to close Jan. 31, but strong sales of its clearance merchandise caused the retailer to move up the closing date, according to Ginger Reeder, vice president of corporate communications.

Last week, nearly all of the full-priced merchandise was pulled from the racks and sent to other stores, leaving only a small selection of winter clearance discounted 55 to 65 percent. With about 60 percent of the merchandise shipped out, each of the four floors looks eerily empty with only a handful of racks and shelves filled with a withering selection of men's and women's high-end designer merchandise.

The store still has a fair selection of men's suits and sportcoats, winter coats, furs and women's separates, but much of the remaining merchandise could be considered an oddity by Minnesota standards. Men's Ferragamo blue suede ankle boots ($243 on clearance, regularly $540), women's Christian Louboutin high heels in an exotic emerald-colored hide ($627, regularly $1,325) and a men's Brioni short-sleeve shirt in a loud print ($200, regularly $445) waited patiently for discriminating buyers.

The one collection still in good supply on three floors was The Target + Neiman Marcus collection at 70 percent off. Relatively good sellers such as the Altuzarra cocktail shaker set and Jason Wu ornaments that are sold out in most Target stores sat undisturbed Tuesday among Neiman's browsers.

On Wednesday the store will make a small attempt to fill empty racks by bringing in additional Last Call items from other stores, including women's contemporary dresses, shoes, handbags, designer jewelry and children's clothing, said Catherine Loose, public relations manager for the downtown store. All remaining merchandise, except for that in the 4th floor outlet, will receive an additional 25 percent discount starting Friday, although the pre-sale starts Wednesday. The Last Call on 4 outlet items will not receive an across-the-board extra discount, she said.

Longtime Neiman shopper Ingrid Lee of Minneapolis was scoping out the deals on Tuesday. "I'll be back Wednesday to put several items on hold during the pre-sale," she said. "I've been waiting for this."

According to Reeder, closing a store is somewhat new territory for Neiman Marcus. "This is our first store closing," she said. A store in Houston, Texas, was razed in 2005, but that was because the entire mall was torn down. Most of the merchandise was simply moved to another Neiman store in Houston, she said.

The imminent closing of Neiman's in downtown Minneapolis and Macy's in downtown St. Paul come at a time when downtowns are losing their retail core and some department store shopping is on the decline.

John Ewoldt • 612-673-7633

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