(This guest post originally appeared at the author’s blog, The Fashion Beat)
Listening in on Neiman Marcus Group CEO Burt Tansky’s analyst conference call on December 9, one couldn’t help feeling depressed. Tansky, who oversees upscale department stores Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, said that the luxury sector’s “challenging retail environment” was likely to go on for “an extended period of time.”
In the company’s most recent quarter–ending October 31, 2009–it saw year-over-year sales decline by 11.9% (to $868.9 million) and y-o-y profits shrink by 34%. In November, y-o-y comparable store sales decreased by 9.7%.
Yet if data from online personal finance service Mint.com is any indication, sales during the holiday season should be OK. Mint tracked spending per user at four retailers over the last year, and you can see that there’s been a significant increase. Definitely not as good as during the boom years, but OK. Especially for Nordstrom, which began providing online shipping to 30 different countries last month.
While it’s a little disconcerting that Banana Republic is included in the luxury mix, Mint does have access to thousands upon thousands of credit card and bank accounts, so it’s safe to say that these numbers are pretty accurate. Maybe there’s hope for the luxury retailer after all.