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Gun-Sniffing Dog Nabs Neiman Marcus Shoplifting Suspect

The recent wave of organized retail crime (ORC) at retailers across U.S. cities now has Neiman Marcus beefing up its loss prevention measures with a private security firm and K-9 units.

A gun-sniffing dog hired at a Neiman Marcus in central Chicago alerted the store employees to the presence of a man carrying a gun who was caught allegedly stuffing his jacket with merchandise, according to the Chicago Police Department.

Neiman Marcus Group confirmed to Sourcing Journal that new countermeasures, including the deployment of K-9 units, have been put into place.

“Neiman Marcus is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable in-store experience for our associates and customers,” a company spokesperson said. “To reinforce our commitment, we are investing in additional security measures in select stores. In addition to Neiman’s full-time in-store security team, we are now working with a private security firm and its K-9 unit for weapons detection.”

Derrick Latham was arrested on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile when the trained canine working at the store alerted security that he was carrying a firearm. Guards then followed the Latham and watched as he grabbed a belt and two belt buckles before trying to leave without paying, Cook County Assistant State Attorney Loukas Kalliantasis said.

Kalliantasis said the security officers allegedly found $995 worth of stolen merchandise on Latham, as well as the handgun and 16 counterfeit $100 bills.

Prosecutors charged Latham with felony retail theft and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon with a previous conviction. Latham had been electronically monitored after being charged with punching a police officer in a Nordstrom store in January. He had previously been arrested in September 2021 for carrying a gun in a Christian Dior store

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The arrest comes as more instances of retail theft rock high-end and boutique stores in major metropolitan areas. A woman was recently charged with stealing more than $17,000 in goods from a Chicago-area Neiman Marcus located in the suburb of Oak Brook, Ill.

These incidents can be costly. A Beverly Hills store that was robbed late last month saw between $3 million and $5 million of luxury goods stolen in the heist. And in February, The RealReal lost more than $500,000 in jewelry, watches and handbags in a robbery at its Madison Ave. Manhattan store.

Smaller businesses have a harder time handling these problems, like Minneapolis’ KKG Kickz, which had to shutter its doors after five burglaries in six months. Another sneaker retailer, Chicago’s Flee Club is considering moving the business out of the city after falling victim to two robberies in two weeks.

Private security is an alternative that retailers in high-crime areas may be more willing to consider if they are impacted by robberies. Last August, a “smash and grab” break-in at a Nordstrom store in Walnut Creek, Calif. prompted the city council to approve a one-year contract with the retailer that allowed for a uniformed officer to be stationed at the town’s Broadway Plaza store. The retailer is reimbursing the city for the officer’s overtime costs.

More than two-thirds (69.4 percent) of retailers said the pandemic increased the overall crime risk for their organization, according to NRF’s 2021 National Retail Security Survey, with 50 percent specifically pointing to a rise in shoplifting. The same also indicated that 56.9 percent of retailers have said organized retail crime has gotten worse since March 2020.

Farfetch deal

Meanwhile, Farfetch Ltd. made a $200 million minority investment in Neiman Marcus Group as part of a broader strategic partnership.

The tie-up builds on Farfetch’s Luxury New Retail vision and advances Neiman’s pioneering strategy to revolutionize integrated luxury retail by re-platforming the Bergdorf Goodman website and mobile app via Farfetch Platform Solutions.

“I believe the U.S. luxury market is at a pivotal point,” José Neves, Farfetch’s founder, chairman and CEO, said. “Whilst the U.S. is proving to be a long-lasting source of growth for the luxury industry, fueled by younger generations who are highly engaged with the category, businesses will have to significantly upgrade their digital capabilities—powering both online and offline customer journeys—to meet these new customer expectations and stay ahead in what is going to be a competitive space in the coming years.”

“José and the entire Farfetch team have built a best-in-class technology platform and are the ideal partner to help us grow Bergdorf Goodman to be an even stronger global digital luxury retailer. Farfetch’s investment demonstrates their confidence in our omni-channel strategy, and we look forward to partnering with Farfetch to continue revolutionizing the luxury customer experience and delivering value to all our stakeholders,” said Geoffroy van Raemdonck, CEO of Neiman Marcus Group, the largest omnichannel luxury retailer in the U.S. and parent to Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus Last Call and Horchow.

Darcy Penick, president of Bergdorf Goodman, said that leveraging the technology and expertise of Farfetch will allow Bergdorf to amplify its brand, further embed the Bergdorf experience across online and in-store, and continue its investments to further establish the brand as a “digital luxury leader on a global scale.”

In the past six months, Farfetch has been busy building out its Luxury New Retail initiative. In November, Farfetch was reported to be in talks with Compagnie Financière Richemont S.A. regarding a minority stake in Yoox-Net-A-Porter. Then it acquired Luxclusif, a luxury resale player. The move allows the luxury marketplace to expand its resale service, Farfetch Second Life. And one month later in January, Farfetch acquired Violet Grey, adding the brand to its expanding beauty platform.

Previous Farfetch acquisitions include Browns and Stadium Goods, and the New Guards Group, a platform for the development of global fashion brands.

Neiman, meanwhile, is working with Trane by Trane Technologies on a decarbonization strategy for Bergdorf, with the aim of contributing to N.Y.C.’s goal of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The decarbonizing technology by Trane will enable Bergdorf to eliminate natural gas use and electrification, transitioning to renewable energy use and carbon footprint reduction.

The decarbonization plans are in four key areas: renewable energy, electrification, energy efficiency and refrigerant management. Neiman said that in addition to improvements at Bergdorf’s New York City women’s store stores in Dallas, Austin, San Francisco, Troy, Mich., Pinnacle Point, Tex., and Sunrise, Fla and elsewhere will also get an eco upgrade. Stores will be equipped with building automation systems, rooftop units, LED lighting, other energy conserving fixtures, and improved air quality technology.

The Bergdorf women’s store will replace outdated HVAC equipment with two 500-ton, water cooled energy efficient Trane chillers, along with next-generation, low GWP refrigerant. The installation is expected to result in an annual reduction of 642 metric tons of carbon and nearly $61,000 in annual energy cost savings, Neiman said.