Neiman-Marcus Co., the Dallas-based specialty retailer owned by Carter Hawley Hale Stores, is planning to build a second store in metropolitan Washington after its initial branch opens Nov. 7 in the District.
Angelo R. Arena, chairman of Neiman-Marcus, revealed the expansion plans yesterday at a Kennedy Center news conference called to announce opening details for the firm's 122,000-square-foot store in Northwest Washington, for which a gala opening party will benefit the National Symphony Orchestra.
Arena said it would be difficult for Neiman-Marcus to "get a substantial share" of the affluent Washington market from just a single store and he noted that the heavy sales promotion costs "worthy of this market" on a long run basis dictate the addition of another store, to spread out costs with higher sales volume.
He said it is "premature" to identify possible locations for the second Neiman-Marcus but said it would be started within three to five years. Retail sources said a mall being planned near Fairfax is a potential site.
An opening for the initial Neiman-Marcus store here originally was planned for the fall of 1972 but was delayed by construction site difficulties, strikes and litigation involving some participants in the Mazza Gallerie, a shopping center at Western and Wisconsin Avenues NW that also will house about 80 smaller shops and services
"The delays have been unfortunate," said the company's president, Richard Marcus, son of former chairman Stanley Marcus who retired recently after 50 years of guiding the growth of a specialty store in Dallas to a nationally known and expanding retail firm.
But both Arena and Marcus said they didn't believe the Washington market had been saturated in recent years by the arrival of Bloomingdale's and expansion into higher-priced merchandise by other firms.
Arena said he expects initial annual sales of more than $12 million "$100 a square foot) and up to $25 million ($200 a square foot) "within a few years" at the D.C. store, which will occupy three levels at Mazza Gallerie and employ about 300 persons, mostly new hires here.
Carter Hawley Hale Stores, Inc., based in Los Angeles, is investing about $18 million in the D.C. store including up to $7 million for an inventory of merchandise. Store manager Tony Harriman, who previously headed the Neiman-Marcus store in St. Louis, said he faces a delicate balancing act on opening day of providing customers not only with traditional fall lines but also Christmas holiday goods.
Arena said he expects several other stores in Mazza Gallerie to open about the same time as Neiman-Marcus. Parking will be provided for customers on four levels underground and, when the Metro system is opened along Wisconsin Avenue, a subway entrance will be located in the shopping complex.
Among stores that will move into the mall, sources said yesterday, is Washington-based Raleigh's - which jointly developed and manages Columbia, Md., announcedter across Western Avenue to the new site.
"The location is just ideal for us," said Arena, who described typical Neiman-Marcus customers as preferring careful selection among all available merchandise by store personnel before it is put on display. "It's not so much what I see but what I don't see," is a typical reaction to the non-cluttered and open space displays of Neiman-Marcus, he added.