The Neiman Marcus Group has disclosed a round of new investments totaling $85 million and talent additions that include Paolo Riva as general manager of brand partnerships and merchandising for the Neiman Marcus brand and Bob Kupbens as executive vice president, chief product and technology officer.
Both are new roles at the Dallas-based luxury retailer. The company emerged from bankruptcy in September 2020 with vastly reduced debt and new owners.
The investments will go into supply chain innovation, specifically systems and fulfillment centers. NMG is implementing a new order management system, a new warehouse system and investments in the company’s Pinnacle Park distribution facility in Dallas. These are multiyear improvements that begin immediately.
Riva was formerly the chief executive officer of Victoria Beckham and Diane von Furstenberg and also has held senior roles at Valentino, Ferragamo and Tory Burch. He will report to Lana Todorovich, Neiman Marcus president and chief merchandising officer.
Kupbens, who will be reporting to Neiman Marcus Group CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck, is a former executive at Apple, eBay, Delta and ADT, where he held senior roles overseeing e-commerce, digital products and technology. He will partner with David Goubert, president and chief customer officer, Neiman Marcus; Darcy Penick, president, Bergdorf Goodman, and Todorovich to develop new digital products, accelerate the ramp-up of NMG’s advanced analytics capabilities, scale personalization of customer experience to a broader set of customers, and curate the personalized assortments.
“Neiman Marcus Group is a customer and brand relationship business, powered by a strong digital ecosystem,” van Raemdonck said. “Today we are announcing additional moves to accelerate our transformation reflecting our renewed financial flexibility and desire to invest in areas that are a source of unique competitive advantage and create shareholder value.
“The vision of the future is omni-engagement,” he told WWD. “Anyone that shops in our stores, we want them to engage with us digitally as well. We also have a lot of customers who buy online. Anything we can do to link them with sales associates is a way to differentiate ourselves.” Neiman’s has 4,000 sales associates in its stores as well as 2,000 digital sale associates. “It’s really the ability to serve our costumers in stores or when they are not in stores. That’s the power in us.”
Van Raemdonck characterized the $85 million investment as “massive” compared to past investments, and leading to improvements in delivery speed, tracking products, and warehouse management and becoming more agile with the inventory. “We are investing in capex and investing in people and will spend significantly in both. We are a company that has liquidity and moving on the offensive,” said van Raemdonck.
“We have incredibly strong relationships with our brand partners and are evolving our collaboration from being a distribution channel for them to an increased value creation opportunity,” Todorovich said. “With Paolo’s leadership, we will ensure Neiman Marcus further enhances the value we provide to brand partners through maximizing their access to our luxury customers, providing additional customer and assortment insights, and aligning on the renovation plans for six of our stores within the next 18 months.”
Riva, as general manager of brand partnerships and merchandising for the Neiman Marcus brand, will be developing “broader ways of working with brands, to reimagine how we create value with them, provide access to the most engaged customers, provide customer insights, and become much more than a distribution channel,” Todorovich told WWD. Strategies would include partnering on exclusive capsule collections, events and introducing brands to Neiman’s customers for the first time.
Finally, NMG is investing to support its stores and online business, which is one of the larger multibrand luxury online businesses generating $1.4 billion in annual sales. “We are transforming NMG’s core operating capability to support our growth as the luxury destination of choice for customers,” said Willis Weirich, executive vice president, group operations and chief supply chain officer. “As the demand for luxury products continues to grow, so does our supply chain network and infrastructure. These investments ensure that NMG can quickly deliver the luxury products our customers want.”