Neiman Marcus profit slips 54%

The Neiman Marcus Group, Dallas, said today that its profit dropped 54% in its fiscal first quarter as the recession sapped demand for designer goods and expensive jewelry, Bloomberg News reported.

Net income fell to $23.7 million, or 48 cents a share, from $50.9 million, or $1.05, a year earlier. Sales in the period, which ended Oct. 27, fell 10%, to $681.1 million, the retailer said.

Steeper price cuts reduced Neiman Marcus’s gross profit, or sales minus the cost of goods sold, to 36% of sales in the first quarter from 39.4% a year earlier, Bloomberg reported. The decline in the second quarter will be greater, executives for the chain said on a conference call with investors.

Neiman Marcus stock has lost 15% of its value this year.

Sales at stores open at least a year will drop this quarter by a percentage in the “midsingle digits,” the company said.

In the first quarter, same-store sales dropped 11%, Bloomberg reported. The company’s Bergdorf Goodman store in New York was particularly hurt, with revenue at the Manhattan landmark down 16%, compared with an 11% drop in total sales at Neiman Marcus namesake stores.