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Report: Neiman Marcus CEO to Retire

According to reports, Karen Katz plans to retire from her role as CEO of Neiman Marcus.

The Wall Street Journal posted the news based on information from unnamed sources. The publication also said the retail group will be hiring an outsider to replace its top executive.

The sources said Katz, who has held the CEO post since 2010 and been with the company since 1985, will remain on the board.

Though rumors of her departure have surfaced before, the insiders say Neiman Marcus retained an executive search firm to look for her replacement. Efforts toward finding a candidate had been prolonged because the CEOs the retail group was interested in were not interested in the role, they said.

The retailer limped into 2017 with a $23.5 million net loss in the first quarter coupled with a 7.4% decline in revenue.

Citing fewer visits from formerly loyal customers and the impact of the price shopping bug, the retailer found itself in dire straits along with many of its competitors.

In March, news surfaced that Hudson’s Bay Company had designs on Neiman Marcus but talks stalled, according to reports, due to Neiman’s $5 billion debt load.

In the meantime, the retailer focused on bolstering its exclusive product and rolled out a reorganization plan. In addition to boosting e-commerce sales and data analytics, the strategy was designed to allow the chain to better appeal to millennials.

Neimans, which has also struggled to bring deliveries in line with shoppers’ demands, made some headway in this area thanks to its new inventory management system, which allows it to take a more data driven approach to assortments. The improvement though came after months of prolonged hiccups related to implementing the new system.

Additionally, the company set a Digital First mandate, which has resulted in big online gains.

Neimans cut 225 jobs last year and decided to slash its Last Call chain by 25 percent despite the fact that other apparel retailers have been racing toward off price.