Neiman Marcus is the latest department store to be in the spotlight regarding a potential split of its business units, according to a new report from The New York Post.
The move, which would reportedly involve a three-way split between the company’s website, stores, and its Bergdorf Goodman business, could help it untangle its successful digital business from its stores.
In response to a request for comment, Neiman Marcus directed FN to a recent interview with the company’s CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck and president and chief merchandising officer Lana Todorovich in WWD, in which executives said that the company had no intention of splitting its businesses.
“We are really saying we consider stores, online and the third channel of remote shopping as the one face of Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman,” van Raemdonck told WWD. “It’s not different faces or different businesses.”
Other department stores have considered and carried out similar plans in recent months, as digital businesses soar in the pandemic. Saks Fifth Avenue’s parent company Hudson’s Bay Co. split the retailer’s website and stores into two separate businesses in March after it received a $500 million infusion from venture capital firm Insight Partners into Saks’ e-commerce unit. This digital arm of Saks Fifth Avenue has reportedly started preparations to file for an initial public offering and is targeting a valuation of around $6 billion for an IPO in the first half of 2022.
Activist investors have been particularly vocal about their suggestions for legacy department stores to make these business splits. In October, Jana Partners LLC took a stake in Macy’s and sent a letter pressuring the retailer to split its online and store businesses to capitalize on an impressive digital growth in the last few quarters. In November, Macy’s shareholders NuOrion Advisors, LLC sent an open letter to the Macy’s board chairman asking for the formation of a “Digital Special Committee” to oversee specific proposals for its digital business.
Earlier this month, an investor sent a public letter asking Kohl’s to separate its physical store business from its e-commerce business.
According to the Post, Neiman Marcus is in talks with the consulting firm that is helping Saks split separate its businesses. Macy’s Inc. also recently hired the person behind this split, according to a report in Sourcing Journal.