Wanda Gierhart, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of the Neiman Marcus Group and a key player in driving the luxury retailer’s omnichannel strategies, has decided to leave the company “to focus on other interests.”
Neiman’s did not name a successor.
“Wanda has let me know that she has made the difficult decision to leave the company in the near future to focus on other interests and pursue different opportunities,” Karen Katz, Neiman Marcus Group’s president and chief executive officer, said Tuesday in a letter to employees. “She has committed to staying with NMG as we work through the transition. Her final day at NMG will be announced at a later date.”
Katz added that since 2008, Gierhart has been a member of NMG’s leadership team, heading up the marketing and creative division. “As cmo, she played a key role as we pursued our omnichannel strategic vision and subsequent transformation enabling a customer to shop a NMG brand, any time and from any mobile device.”
While business at Neiman Marcus has been tough over the past year, the e-commerce side of the business has grown. Neiman’s says it conducts more e-commerce than any other luxury retailer and that among multichannel retailers, it has attained one of the highest e-commerce rates — 30 percent of total sales in the firm’s latest fiscal year. The year before, Neiman’s e-commerce represented 26 percent of total revenues. In 2014, NMG purchased the Mytheresa.com online luxury business based in Munich and the Theresa luxury store, also in Munich.
Neiman’s growth has assuaged concerns that affluent consumers would be reluctant to shop designer fashion online. The company has aggressively supported digital growth by focusing capital on enhancing its online shopping experiences, including faster checkouts, easier navigation and personalization. The company has also been increasing its ability to fill online orders from stores and is rolling out its buy-online, pick-up-in-store service. Still, online operations experience high returns and have high distribution and delivery costs, cutting into profitability.
“With Wanda’s commitment to keeping the voice of the customer at the center of our marketing efforts, we remain the world’s leading luxury omnichannel retailer with a prestigious and affluent customer base, while we continue to attract a younger, Millennial customer,” Katz said.
Gierhart oversaw all aspects of marketing and branding. Neiman’s credited her with having expertise in global marketing, strategic planning, digital and mobile marketing, social media, sales promotion, e-commerce, merchandising and retail management.
Gierhart joined Neiman Marcus Group in 2009. Earlier, she was president and ceo of TravelSmith Outfitters; executive vice president of merchandising and marketing at Design Within Reach, and executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Limited Brands.