No recession for Neiman Marcus catalog
Million-dollar gifts are back, and this year's Christmas Book is available on your iPad. How about a $75,000 Camaro convertible or a $250,000 houseboat?
It appears that, recession or not, wretched excess is back -- if it ever went away.
After a one-year hiatus, this year's Neiman Marcus Christmas Book is back to advertising gifts for more than $1 million. I want the $1.5 million custom swimming pool artwork by glass artist Dale Chihuly. The pool is extra.
This year, for the first time, you can get the fantasy catalog on your iPad, which seems fitting. People who can afford these sorts of gifts certainly would have bought the iPad the moment it arrived, rather than waiting a few generations for the price to drop. Post continues after video.
Last year's book was scaled back in deference to the recession, but that restraint is over. As Milton Pedraza, chief executive of consulting firm Luxury Institute, told Reuters:
There's a segment of the population that has gotten even wealthier: Goldman Sachs bankers, Silicon Valley venture capitalists. They have so much money, they don't know what to do with it. They're in the mood to spend and that's what Neiman Marcus is tapping into.
Reuters notes that same-store sales at Neiman Marcus Group, which also includes Bergdorf Goodman, rose 6.5% in the last quarter for which figures are available. The company began publishing the book in 1926.
But enough of this boring economic analysis. You want to know about the fantasy gifts, don't you? Here are some highlights:
- Dale Chihuly art installation measuring up to 22 by 12 feet at the bottom of your swimming pool, page 49, $1.5 million.
- 2011 Neiman Marcus Edition Camaro Convertible, one of only 100 to be produced, pages 44-45, $75,000.
- Edible Gingerbread Playhouse, made of 381 pounds of gourmet gingerbread and 517 pounds of icing with a lollipop tree inside, page 47, $15,000.
- Danny Ferrington Handmade Gourd Ukulele, page 50, $6,000.
- Tequila Avion Private Party by celebrity event planner Colin Cowie, for 75 guests with gourmet food created by celebrity chef Todd English, Tequila Avion cocktails from mixologist Yusef Austin and music from DJ Donna d'Cruz, page 48, $125,000.
- His & Hers ultimate romantic retreat, a 48-by-12-foot MetroShip houseboat, pages 40-41, $250,000.
If, like me, you didn't receive one of the more than 1 million catalogs mailed to prospective customers (how could they have left us off the list?) and don't have an iPad, you can look at the catalog online.
The book didn't entirely forget those whose Christmas gift budget falls well below four figures. About half the items in the 163-page catalog are priced below $250. And two pages show items that cost less than $100. Those include a tin of the famous Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookies for $24. And you can get free shipping with promo code FALLMN.
(Even the rich may be interested in those lower-priced items, judging by the results of a new survey. That survey, of people with a net worth of $800,000 or above, found that the richest 10% of Americans plan to spend less on the holidays this year than last, an average total of $2,370.)
The dreaming and drooling are free, Ginger Reeder, Neiman's vice president of public relations, reminded Jamie Stengle of The Associated Press:
I do think if there's ever a time of year to fantasize about "What in the world would I do if I won the lottery," this is it. That's part of our tradition. If you want something, you can get it at Neiman Marcus. If you want a houseboat for two that you can escape on, you can get it at Neiman Marcus. Or you can dream about it from Neiman Marcus.
Which of these gifts is on your fantasy list?
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