Neiman Marcus Hudson Yards, Manhattan’s greatest multi-purpose private construction since Rockefeller Center, is unsurprising. In May, a hefty debt load combined with COVID-19 shutdown forced the company to file for bankruptcy.
Neiman Marcus has no choice but to close its Hudson Yards store, as well as three other stores in Florida and Washington state, after just one year in business.
The downfall of the Dallas-based business at Hudson Yards
The downfall of the Dallas-based business at Hudson Yards was predicted even before the store opened in March 2019. Despite the reports, Neiman Marcus opened an 188,000-square-foot store with handpicked clothing, multiple bars and restaurants, multimedia screens, and great art.
The Shed, Hudson Yards’ performance venue with its telescoping shell, supplied a cultural icon, while Neiman Marcus gave a credible retail component. The signature “climbing structure” of Hudson Yards, Vessel, was created to make the hub a tourist destination. However, COVID-19 has shuttered Neiman Marcus, The Shed, and Vessel since mid-March.
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Despite the fact that Hudson Yards required Neiman Marcus, customers mainly shunned the indoor shopping centre. The clumsily designed mall was too far away from Manhattan’s main commercial district. The chosen high-designer business was Bergdorf Goodman, which is part of the Neiman Marcus Group. It has anchored Fifth Avenue’s distinctive shopping section for decades, just south of Central Park.
To get to Hudson Yards, visitors must take a long walk, a cab, or a specially built subway line. The area between 10th and 12th Avenues on the Far West Side, from West 30th to West 34th Streets, is cluttered with construction barriers. These construction roadblocks are expected to be there for a long time. Hudson Yards is barely around half-completed.
When Neiman Marcus appeared in Bankruptcy Court on Thursday, the shop presented legal documents declaring that the Hudson Yards site, along with three others, would close as part of a corporate reorganisation aimed at addressing the retailer’s massive debt.
The closure of Hudson Yards had been long expected. Hudson Yards’ developers revealed that they were already promoting the shop space for renovation. Facebook is said to be interested in the project.
The Hudson Yards store has been shuttered since March due to 19 quarantine requirements. The main entrance to the business may be found on the fifth floor of the indoor mall. Even if Neiman Marcus wanted to, it couldn’t reopen the store. As per the Mayor’s directive, indoor retail is currently prohibited in New York City.
The store had intended to return when the mall reopened, according to Amber Seikaly, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Neiman Marcus. Due to the present restrictions, it’s unclear if that will ever happen. “We haven’t decided if Hudson Yards will have a clearance sale.”
Three more locations were named for closure in Bankruptcy Court records filed on Thursday. One of these establishments was the Galleria in Fort Lauderdale. The Neiman Marcus in Fort Lauderdale launched in 1982 with the goal of bringing the appeal of Miami Beach’s Bal Harbour Shops to Broward County.
The new Fort Lauderdale store will be a location where “a salesperson remembers your name and understands how to prepare a formal table,” according to the opening advertisements. For years, the Galleria has been in desperate need of a makeover and a fresh tenant mix. Local officials and shoppers were not surprised when Neiman Marcus announced its closing.
The shutdown of the Palm Beach store, on the other hand, is a terrible move. The store, which is located on Worth Avenue, one of the country’s most prestigious high-end retail districts, has only been open since 2000. Despite being nearly half the size of a typical Neiman Marcus, the Palm Beach location lacks any “starting price points.”
“There are few other cities in the country where we would consider a shop of this size,” Neiman Marcus leadership remarked at the grand opening. The statement on Thursday comes at an odd time for the Palm Beach site. After being closed for COVID-19, the business only reopened on Tuesday.
The closing of Neiman Marcus in Bellevue, Washington, completed the current list of shop closures. The Bellevue store is part of the Bravern, a multi-purpose complex that contains housing, offices, and retailers such as Gucci, Hermès, and Jimmy Choo, and is located about 10 miles east of downtown Seattle.
Shoppers have long complained that the Bravern is isolated from the rest of Bellevue and is at an inconvenient location. The Bravern’s flagship major retailer, Neiman Marcus, has closed its doors, signalling the company’s exit from the Pacific Northwest market.
Seikaly acknowledges that these decisions are not taken lightly by the organisation. “Leaving any location is difficult. We care about our consumers, and we’re lucky that we have such strong bonds with them that we can continue to amaze them with our online services and individualised shopping experiences with our Style Advisors via virtual calls, texts, and emails.” The four stores are not set to close on a certain day, but the company hopes to finish the process by the fall.
As Neiman Marcus works its way back to financial security, this will very definitely not be the last store to close. The leases for the businesses in Washington, DC and Walnut Creek, California are being vigorously promoted right now. More store closures are expected in the near future, according to retail analysts.
The moniker Neiman Marcus is unlikely to fade away. It still conjures up images of opulence, exclusivity, and caché. The retailer is known for providing exceptional customer care to its affluent clients.
However, the future of retailing now hinges on a strong online presence. The Neiman Marcus namesake can have a fair chance for a post-COVID-19 future if the company can properly restructure, preserve its prestige, and create a superior digital experience.