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NM Group: No Plans To Sell, Close Contempo Casuals Chain

NEWTON, Mass. -- The Neiman Marcus Group said it has no plans to sell or close its Contempo Casuals chain, even though this division continues to lose money through the first quarter.<BR><BR>First-quarter revenues at Contempo Casuals were down, said...

NEWTON, Mass. — The Neiman Marcus Group said it has no plans to sell or close its Contempo Casuals chain, even though this division continues to lose money through the first quarter.

First-quarter revenues at Contempo Casuals were down, said Robert J. Tarr, president of NMG at its annual meeting, held here Wednesday.

He said the chain had a difficult 1993 and that it is likely the division will have an operating loss for fiscal 1994.

Contempo lost $14.1 million in fiscal 1993, including a $10.5 million loss related to developing the Pastille retail concept.

Despite the decrease in sales at Contempo, comparable sales for the entire group increased 5.4 percent in the first quarter. Operating earnings were $33.8 million, up slightly from last year’s first-quarter performance of $33.2 million.

“Stores had a strong holiday selling season with double-digit increases from comparable stores in December,” Tarr said.

The problems with Contempo do not extend to the group’s women’s wear.

“The women’s apparel business is very strong,” said Tarr, “especially in the Neiman Marcus stores — and that’s geographically across the board.”

Although there are no major plans to revamp Contempo, Tarr said they will change the focus of the merchandise.

“The trend of the merchandise was too young,” he said. “The merchandise is going to be less fashion-forward than it has been in the past.”

Tarr said Contempo will focus more on women in their early 20s. He added that the group also must adjust to the tighter spending habits and investment-oriented purchasing by women in the Nineties.