Neiman Marcus Group Acts on Sustainability

The Neiman Marcus Group has established an environmental social governance team for the first time.

“Now more than ever, environmental sustainability is top of mind for the fashion and retail industries,” Geoffroy van Raemdonck, chief executive officer, Neiman Marcus Group, said Thursday, Earth Day.

“As the preeminent luxury customer platform, it’s our responsibility to take action and address sustainability issues for our associates, customers, investors and the future of our great company.”

The ESG team consists of a vice president and two managers who report to NMG’s chief people and belonging officer Eric Severson, with quarterly oversight from NMG’s board.

Neiman’s said the success of this small team will largely hinge on “a cross-functional governance model to engage leaders and task forces across the company ensuring that ESG is infused into all parts of NMG’s business.”

The team is collaborating with independent, third-party consultants to conduct a survey to highlight ESG issues. Neiman’s will use the findings to identify ESG priorities, set time-bound goals, invest in competitive opportunities, and publish a comprehensive strategy later this year.

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Neiman’s pointed out other efforts to help the environment.

While customers can shop conscious brands and products via the Neiman Marcus Sustainable Style Edit, the Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman divisions are developing revised edits that feature multiple categories within sustainable and ethical luxury fashion, provide clarity around those categories’ definitions, and rely heavily on independently recognized materials, processes and certifications. “Our new, flexible merchandising structure will honor the diverse and innovative sustainability approaches among brand partners and enable discerning customers to shop the product attributes they care about most,” said van Raemdonck.

Van Raemdonck also cited Neiman’s extensive mending and alterations operations. He indicated that in 2019, Neiman Marcus generated more than $10 million in revenue from mending and alterations services for more than 320,000 items and NMG employs more than 300 tailors who perform basic tasks, like mending holes and replacing zippers, and more intricate alterations and customization. “Everything they do is designed to extend the life cycle of customers’ most-loved luxury items,” said van Raemdonck. “This service is not only sustainable — it’s a key driver of customer experience and loyalty with our top spend clients.”

As previously reported, the Dallas-based luxury retailer will use proceeds from selling two distribution centers to reinvest in its supply chain to improve speed to customer and speed of replenishment, increase capacity in key markets, and invest in technology that increases efficiency and sustainability.

In 2019, NMG became the first luxury retailer to make a long-term investment in resale by acquiring a minority stake in Fashionphile, a reseller of preowned luxury handbags and accessories. At the Fashionphile “Selling Studios” in four Neiman Marcus stores in Calfornia — Palo Alto, San Francisco, Beverly Hills and Fashion Island — as well as in the NorthPark Mall in Dallas, nearly $16 million in resale merchandise for more than 18,000 items has been collected, extending products’ life cycles and diverting them from landfill. In the next nine months, 10 more Selling Studios will open inside Neiman Marcus stores in Boca Raton, Fla.; King of Prussia, Pa.; Atlanta; Austin and San Antonio, Texas; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Las Vegas; Topanga, Calif.; Troy, Mich., and Northbrook, Ill.

The Fashionphile Selling Studios are where customers can bring in used luxury items, get them appraised and authenticated, and receive cash or a 10 percent increase on a Neiman Marcus gift card for the items. Used luxury items can be purchased on the Fashionphile website.

Additionally, Fashionphile and Neiman’s are launching a Stylist Network, which essentially is back-of-house technology enabling Neiman’s 3,000 selling associates to expedite the Fashionphile experience and make it easier for consumers. Other than dropping off the used luxury item at a selling studio or shipping it to the selling studio, customers don’t have to engage with Fashionphile on the transaction, including appraisal and authentication. It can be handled through associates utilizing the Stylist Network, which includes a multiclient management tool, account and client reporting, commission management, and dashboards for visualizing next steps across clients.

“Today more than ever, the consumer is a conscientious shopper. She’s not only looking for a quality item at the right price, but she is thoughtful about the investment she is making and the sustainability of the purchase,” said Sarah Davis, founder and president of Fashionphile. She added that with Neiman’s, the two companies are pursuing “more innovative ways to engage with customers.”

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