Neiman Marcus is turning up the volume on its sustainability efforts as more customers, particularly millennials and Gen Z, take the environment and retail’s impact on society into account as they shop.
Neiman Marcus has started working with consultants to assess areas important to a luxury retailer, identify investment opportunities and come up with a strategy later this year.
The Dallas-based luxury retailer has formed a new team that is expected to infuse environmental considerations and sustainability into all parts of its business. The three-person team will set up task force groups across departments and will report to chief people officer Eric Severson and to the board on a quarterly basis.
Neiman Marcus CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck said the company is in a position to demonstrate what it looks like to be a luxury retailer embracing sustainability.
“Now more than ever, environmental sustainability is top of mind for the fashion and retail industries,” van Raemdonck said. “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 company is also highlighting its investment in the pre-owned luxury handbag retailer Fashionphile and its mending and alterations business, a $10 million annual revenue stream.
Two years ago, Neiman Marcus purchased a minority stake in California-based Fashionphile, and it has since expanded the relationship with locations inside its NorthPark Center store in Dallas and four stores in California. So far, the collaboration has resulted in $16 million in resale merchandise, or 18,000 items that won’t go into a landfill.
Ten more Fashionphile studios will open inside Neiman Marcus stores in Austin; San Antonio; Atlanta; Las Vegas; Boca Raton, Fla.; King of Prussia, Pa.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Canoga Park, Calif.; Troy, N.Y.; and Northbrook, Ill. Neiman Marcus sales stylists will be able to start the resale process online with their customers.
Pitching mending and alternations, which are done by 300 tailors, as a service that promotes sustainability might seem a stretch, but van Raemdonck said it’s “a key driver of customer experience and loyalty with our top spend clients.”
In 2019, before the pandemic, its alterations departments worked on 320,000 items to mend holes, fix zippers and make intricate alterations to customize clothing. “Everything they do is designed to extend the life cycle of customers’ most loved items,” van Raemdonck said.