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Neiman’s Bergdorf’s Boost Net For NM Group 37.9% In Quarter

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- The Neiman Marcus Group Inc. reported earnings jumped 37.9 percent in the second quarter ended Jan. 29, propelled by a strong performance at Neiman Marcus stores and a solid performance by Bergdorf Goodman.<BR><BR>Earnings rose...

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — The Neiman Marcus Group Inc. reported earnings jumped 37.9 percent in the second quarter ended Jan. 29, propelled by a strong performance at Neiman Marcus stores and a solid performance by Bergdorf Goodman.

Earnings rose to $14.3 million, or 37 cents a share, from $10.3 million, or 27 cents, a year earlier. Sales gained 5.4 percent to $650.7 million from $617.2 million, with same-store sales ahead 5.1 percent. Designer sportswear, coats, and accessories were top sellers at both Neiman Marcus stores and Bergdorf Goodman, a spokesman said. Men’s sportswear sold well at Bergdorf Goodman Men.

Robert J. Tarr Jr., president and chief executive officer of the NM Group, said the Neiman Marcus division, which includes NM Direct as well as Neiman Marcus stores, achieved higher sales and “substantially higher” operating earnings in the quarter compared with a year ago. “The Neiman Marcus stores had an outstanding holiday season, with increased second-quarter transaction volume as well as strong regular price sell-throughs. NM Direct benefited from another strong Christmas catalog and achieved increased operating earnings for the period,” according to Tarr.

At Bergdorf Goodman, sales and operating earnings increased in the second quarter, bolstered by strong holiday season volume at both the Bergdorf store and Bergdorf Goodman Men, Tarr said. A spokesman said sales at Bergdorf Goodman were strong in November and December, but were hurt by the snow in January.

Meanwhile, Contempo Casuals, the fashion-forward junior chain, showed a larger loss in the quarter, hit by disappointing sales and by extended store closings as a result of the California earthquake. Twelve stores were closed, and eight have since reopened.

Pastille, a contemporary women’s chain being tested by Contempo, also increased its loss because of lower-than-expected sales.

In the six months, earnings increased to $22.2 million, or 58 cents a share, from $19.1 million, or 81 cents, a year earlier. Sales advanced 5.7 percent to $1.16 billion from $1.1 billion.

The company noted that it expected a loss applicable to common shareholders in the second half, adding that the period is traditionally a loser. The loss will reflect the $14.5 million in preferred dividends to be paid to Harcourt General Inc., which owns 65 percent of the Neiman Marcus Group.