By  on August 21, 2006 has relaunched its home business as Designer Galleries, giving each brand its own online shop. It's similar to the online presentation Neiman's gives the designers and their ready-to-wear collections.

"This is the first time we've grouped designer-oriented home products in one area," said Tom Holzfeind, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of home for Neiman Marcus Direct. "We thought this was important because Neiman Marcus has always been considered an authority on the designer world. We thought we could parlay that expertise by exposing our customers to home products with those very designers."

So far, five designers are featured in Designer Galleries: Armani Casa, Versace, Fendi, Missoni and John Hardy. "We looked for designers with whom we've had a good relationship in the apparel world," Holzfeind said. "We'll add designers. We're also working toward adding more product to each of the current five designers. This is the soft launch. We hope this launch will be the impetus for designers to cross over from fashion" and allow the company to sell their home products online.

Armani Casa has the most extensive array of products in furniture, rugs, bedding, bath, tabletop and decorative items. The brand is sold online exclusively on the Neiman's Web site. "Armani Casa is available in retail stores in New York and Los Angeles and through nine U.S. wholesale locations," said a Giorgio Armani spokeswoman. "Bringing this business online through such a credible partner as Neiman Marcus will greatly expand the brand awareness and growth."

Versace offers china and glassware; Missoni, bed, bath and tabletop; Fendi, bed linens and throws, and John Hardy features alabaster frames, horn bowls and silver pitchers. Prices on the site range from $60 for tabletop items to $9,000 for some of the larger furniture.

Neiman's will promote Designer Galleries at the end of the month with an e-mail campaign. There also will be cross-promotions with fashion. "If an Armani e-mail goes out focusing on apparel, there could be a sidebar for the Armani Casa collection," Holzfeind said. "There definitely is a link between the apparel and the home products on the site. It's easy to navigate from the fashion side to the home side."

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