Neiman Marcus is quietly in talks to acquire new corporate office space in Dallas — and the negotiations are stoking anxiety about the swanky retailer’s future.
The struggling luxury chain is close to finalizing a deal for new offices in Dallas to accommodate a few hundred people, sources told The Post. That’s compared to the 1,500 corporate staffers who used to schlep to three different buildings in Dallas before the pandemic, two of which it exited in bankruptcy last year.
Some insiders have fretted that the talks are a signal that Neiman is finally poised to leave its flagship store in downtown Dallas — a beloved city landmark that has also served as the company’s headquarters for more than a century.
In a Thursday statement to The Post, Eric Severson, Neiman’s Chief People & Belonging Officer, said, “We have no plans to close our Dallas Downtown flagship.”
Others, meanwhile, question whether it makes sense for the cash-strapped retailer to be shelling out for more office space now, given that many Neiman executives haven’t been working in Dallas since the pandemic and a Chapter 11 restructuring upended the company’s business last year.
“The building is supposed to house senior leaders and be the face of the company,” an anonymous employee griped on the EthicsPoint platform. “This makes no sense as many of our senior leaders don’t live in Dallas.”
“The idea of getting a building so this group can meet three or four times a year is fiscally irresponsible,” the employee added. “This clearly is not the Dallas-based company that was founded [more than a century ago].”
Since March 2020, senior executives at headquarters reporting to Chief Executive Geoffroy van Raemdonck have been working remotely. Those include president David Goubert, who briefly moved to Dallas from Miami and then moved back to Florida. Bob Kupbens, chief product and technology officer, lives in San Francisco.
The company’s chief legal officer, Hannah Kim, lives in St. Louis. Chief merchandising officer Lana Todorovich lives in New York City as does fashion and lifestyle director Lisa Aikin. Insiders tell The Post that the work-from-home policy is likely permanent.
Van Raemdonck, who has a home in Dallas, lives six weeks out of the year in Europe and six weeks from his home in the Hamptons as well as an apartment in New York City, according to the anonymous post.
“Trust level with GVR is at an all time low,” another employee told The Post, referring to van Raemdonck. “And people are wondering about the status Neiman Marcus in Dallas and why most senior leaders have either left Dallas or have never come”
In his written statement to The Post, Neiman’s Severson didn’t respond specifically to questions about Neiman’s plans for new office space.
“Any discussion on creating a space where our associates can collaborate and co-create will be offered in addition to giving associates flexibility,” Severson said in the statement. “Retention of associates has gone up and the time to fill an open position has gone down due to the flexibility and remote options that we provide our associates since implementing this policy.”
Neiman has reportedly weighed leaving its downtown Dallas flagship — a nine-story, Renaissance Revival tower built in 1914 — for decades as many of the city’s well-heeled shoppers fled to the suburbs in the 1980s.
“It’s a low-traffic store that doesn’t do a lot of business” one source close to the company said. Neiman likely holds onto it, the source added, because the company owns the majority of the building and its corporate identity is tied to Dallas.
The employee who submitted the complaint conceded that there are rumors the Dallas store could “shrink” but that management is loath to close it entirely “because of tradition.” Several floors of office space above the store are largely vacant.
“Neiman Marcus is an institution in Dallas and [the current management] probably doesn’t want to invite a hue and cry,” by pulling up stakes, said a third source with direct ties to the company.
Still, said a fourth source, “There has been a lot of discussion for a long time about closing the store.”