GRAIN OF SALT:
Could Neiman Marcus Be Opening A Flagship In Manhattan?
March 28, 2014
Here's a rumor that comes with a healthy helping of built-in skepticism. The New York Post is reporting that Neiman Marcus is negotiating for a flagship sized store that would open in 2018 in the upcoming Hudson Yards development being in the West 30's. This would fly in the face of the chain's longtime policy of opening branches around New York City in New Jersey and Westchester, but never within Manhattan as to not directly compete with or cannibalize the huge business generated by sibling store Bergdorf Goodman. Conversely, Bergdorf's has not expanded beyond its Men's and Women's stores at 58th Street and Fifth Avenue because any U.S. city with expansion potential would already have at least one Neiman Marcus store already thriving. Why change that now? Neiman Marcus Group has new owners who will be anxious for a return on their investment, and the luxury market in New York has grown to the point where some might be convinced that there's enough business for both stores. There are breathless real estate "sources" who are salivating at the prospect of a 200,000 square foot Neiman Marcus flagship anchoring the Hudson Yards complex whose retail component has yet to fully take shape. Also, Nordstom is set to open its first Manhattan store in 2018, at 57th Street and Broadway which would add even more retail action on Manhattan's western half. There's just one thing...
Location, location location.
Bergdorf issues aside, is Neiman Marcus the type of company that would risk opening a costly flagship sized store on 10th Avenue in the West 30s where there is currently nothing, and where there has never been any kind of retail district to speak of? Common wisdom would say no, but stranger things have been known to happen.
Of course, we have heard many times from real estate sources about confirmed deals like Nordstrom at the former Drake Hotel site, or Barneys in the Meatpacking district that never materialized, so one newspaper report doesn't not necessarily make a signed deal. If this does happen, however, it could mean big changes not only for Neiman Marcus but also Bergdorf's. If NMG is willing to bring Neiman's to Manhattan, then it also might be considering finally expanding Bergdorf's into other cities. Or not. Who knows? Stay tuned to see how, or even if, this story develops.
Neiman eyes Hudson Yards for 1st NYC store (NYPost)