Neiman Marcus CEO addresses Saks sale rumors

Some people close to the two companies told CNBC that a merger between the two companies is inevitable, and is a matter of when, not if. But Neiman CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck said there was currently “no process to sell the company.”

“In the history of ages, there have been multiple conversations over two decades, from every side looking at it, and it hasn't happened,” Van Raemdonck told CNBC on Tuesday during the ICR conference in Orlando. “What I can say is that our shareholders do not need to sell the company because we have a billion in cash available, we are profitable and reporting results are in a good place and they can only be better if we execute on our strategy and the economy recovers so there is no urgency on our part.”

Since Neiman filed for bankruptcy in 2020, Pacific Investment Management, Davidson Kempner Capital Management and Sixth Street Partners have owned the luxury retailer. Eventually, those owners will seek to unload their businesses, but Van Raemdonck said that won't happen anytime soon.

“In the future, they will sell, and that future will probably be within the next five years. Sell, go public or do something,” Van Raemdonck said. “There will always be a lot of tension when you are proprietary, when you are private and owned by abnormal owners, but there is no process to sell the company at the moment, and if someone has an interest, we will certainly listen to them.”

The decision will largely be up to Neiman's owners. They have yet to receive an offer large or attractive enough to move the needle, a source familiar with the matter previously told CNBC.

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During the recent holiday, comparable sales trends at Neiman were down by low single digits compared to last year, while comparable sales trends at stores were flat compared to the prior period, the company said in a news release Tuesday.

In the quarter leading up to the holiday season, Neiman saw a slowdown in demand across “all aspects” of its business that spanned all geographies, all channels and all customer types, Van Raemdonck said. He described the luxury retail environment as “volatile.”

If Neiman merged with Saks, the companies would be able to cut costs, negotiate better terms with vendors, and perhaps put up a better shield against changing industry trends that have weakened the importance that department stores once enjoyed.

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