Neiman Marcus

Founded (1907)

department storeNeiman Marcus was founded by Herbert Marcus, his sister Carrie and Al Neiman; Carrie’s husband.  The Neiman Marcus store was opened in Dallas in 1907. The store was lavishly furnished and stocked with high-end women’s outerwear and millinery. Within a few weeks, the store's initial inventory was completely sold out.

In 1913 the original Neiman Marcus store, and most of its merchandise, was destroyed by a fire, the first of several in the company's history. Within two weeks, however, the store reopened at a temporary site nearby, and construction began on a new permanent location. The new building was ready for business by the autumn of 1914.

In 1926 Al and Carrie Neiman were divorced, and Neiman's interest in the store was bought out by the Marcuses family. Herbert’s son Stanley entered the business and, in 1928, Neiman sold his interest in the business to the Marcuses, who remained at the top of the company's management for the next sixty years.

During the Great Depression Neiman Marcus began to include less expensive clothing lines in its inventory; at the same time, the store continued to stock the pricier, high-end items that made it famous, and continued to attract wealthy Texans. By striking a balance between both fashions, Neiman Marcus was able to maintain its elite reputation while also broadening its customer base. The store's Man's Shop was expanded, first in 1934 and again in 1941.

In 1934, Neiman Marcus was the first retailer outside of New York City to advertise in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. In 1938, it created the Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion, the “Oscar” of fashion.  In 1939, Stanley Marcus, Herbert Marcus’s other son, created the famous Christmas catalog tradition; another marketing ploy to bring visibility to the store.

Shortly after the war's end Marcus's two other sons, Herbert, Jr., and Lawrence, joined the company. In 1946 Neiman Marcus suffered the second major fire in its history. Despite the damage, the store was closed for only five days. Herbert Marcus, Sr., died in 1950, and son Stanley became president. Stanley Marcus led the company through a period of rapid expansion during the 1950s. In 1951 a second store was opened in Dallas. In 1955 Neiman Marcus moved into the Houston market and Forth Worth. In 1960, an extraordinary “His and Hers” gift selection was included in each Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog.

In 1963, Stanley's son Richard Marcus joined the company. The following year, another fire devastated the main Dallas store, during the peak Christmas shopping season. Once again, the store was reopened quickly.  Neiman Marcus merged with California-based Broadway-Hale stores in 1969 and, shortly after, with another group to form Carter Hawley Hale Inc.  Stanley Marcus became a top executive at Carter Hawley Hale, while his son Richard was appointed president of Neiman Marcus.  After 1971, stores opened in over thirty cities across the United States.  In 1987, General Cinema became the majority shareholder.

As General Cinema sought to return Neiman Marcus to its dominant position among upper-end specialty retailers, Allen Questrom was named president and CEO of Neiman Marcus Stores, replacing Richard Marcus. By 1990, The Neiman Marcus Group, led by Neiman Marcus Stores, was General Cinema's most important money-maker.  Questrom resigned his position on February of that year and was succeeded as president and CEO of Neiman Marcus stores by Terry Lundgren.  In 1993, Lundgren was chairman, and CEO of Neiman Marcus.  Gerald Sampson, formerly with The May Department Stores Company, was named president and chief operating officer of Neiman Marcus Stores. Part of this success during a tough retail climate resulted from an increased emphasis on big-name designer labels, such as Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, and Donna Karan.

General Cinema was renamed Harcourt General, Inc. in 1993.  In 1994, Lundgren left the company for a position at Federated Department Stores, Inc.  In 1998, Neiman Marcus bought a fifty-one percent interest in Laura Mercier cosmetics, and in 1999, a fifty-six percent share in accessories of designer Kate Spade, another first for a retail organization. In 1999, was launched, becoming the first luxury online retail website.  Stanley Marcus died in 2002.   In 2005, the Neiman Marcus Group was sold to Texas Pacific Group and Warburg Pincus.

The Neiman Marcus Group is comprised of the specialty-retail-stores division, which includes Neiman Marcus Stores, Bergdorf Goodman and the direct marketing division, Neiman Marcus Direct. The company operates two Bergdorf Goodman stores in New York City and thirty seven Neiman Marcus stores across the country.