Neiman Marcus’ annual hommage to over-the-top Christmas gift ideas is out, featuring crazy offerings such as a $250,000 VIP week at the Ryder Cup and a $1.6 million New Year’s party for 300 of your friends in Times Square.
The retailer’s annual Christmas Book, first published in 1915 as a Christmas card inviting customers to the store, has evolved into a key marketing tool sent to nearly 1 million homes. While most of the ideas are outlandish and beyond the budget of anyone but the 1% of the 1%, the guide is a bit of a tradition and does add some fun to the Neiman Marcus brand at a time the business is struggling. Neiman’s comparable sales have fallen in each of the last eight quarters, though the latest batch of results suggests the business is finally stabilizing. Some fun and excitement goes a long way in helping Neiman differentiate itself from the likes of Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom among its department store rivals.
As was the case last year, Neiman’s focus is shifting more heavily to experiences — other gifts include a $35,000 one-hour aerial photo shoot by helicopter with a renowned photographer and a $150,000 trip to France to try out champagne — in a reflection of how Neiman’s strategy is shifting to make in-store shopping itself more about experiences than just stuff.
And the items on offer are not outlandishly priced: the 300-page Christmas Book has some 780 gifts, almost half of which cost less than $250. The lowest priced item on offer is a $9 Omy Coloring book. (The most expensive is that Times Square party at the Knickerbocker Hotel.)
That party is far from the priciest thing Neiman has ever sold in its Christmas Book: it once offered a $20 million submarine, and mummy cases with an actual mummy. The most expensive Christmas Book item ever was a Boeing Business Jet that went for more than of $35 million.