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Neiman Marcus growth hinges on home

Home furnishings are a significant area of growth opportunity for The Neiman Marcus Group via its Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus stores and Neiman Marcus Direct, which includes catalogs and on-line distribution.

Home represents approximately 15 percent of the company's revenues, Burton Tansky, president and ceo at the Lehman Brothers Retail Seminar here last week. And decorative home is one of four growth areas that Tanksy identified, with the others being gifts — "we're a year-round headquarters for gifts" — fine jewelry and epicure.

In the Horchow Collection of home furnishings "it's amazing how many people buy expensive quality furnishings from a photo." This, he believes, is driven by the strength of the Horchow brand. The catalog, he pointed out, takes a room-to-room approach with linens, accessories, rugs and furniture. In February, Horchow mailed a dedicated bath catalog, he added.

Home also is one of six categories "of major interest in brand development" for the company in developing both the Laura Mercier and Kate Spade designer labels. Neiman's acquired a majority interest in both — Mercier in 1998, Spade in 1999.

Overall, Tansky said, direct-to-consumer business accounts for 15 percent of the company's total revenues and brand development, 5 percent.

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