Neiman Marcus Plans Discount Offshoot

Department stores of late have been making serious moves to grow and save at the same time: Now, Neiman Marcus' is testing a stand-alone discount concept store as part of its Last Call division.

The Dallas-area test store is described as a "laboratory" for the brand, presenting itself as an independent structure rather than part of an outlet mall. Unlike Neiman's Last Call clearance outposts, this new outpost will stock merchandise purchased specifically for its shelves and not the liquidation supply from full-price stores.  Neiman Marcus reps are also discussing the possibility of exclusive items and its own brand name in the near future (it's currently labeled with Last Call signage). As one would expect, the department store is gingerly testing the waters, much as Bloomingdale's announced its outlets strategy in January.  Opting for long-term sustainability is the new main goal for most department stores, it seems, over drastic immediate changes.

Perhaps most interesting, the new off-price brand is set to get its own website in the fall for those not in Dallas -- no word yet on expansion plans for the brick & mortar, or whether the legendary Cupcake Car from the last holiday Book will make it to the new spot.

Designers on offer at the Last Call test shop include Tracy Reese, William Rast, Current/Elliott, and Michael Michael Kors, as well as jewelry from David Yurman and Stephen Dweck and a broad range of accessories from Kate Spade to Frye to Cole Haan. 

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