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Neiman Marcus Pulls Out of Hudson Yards and Closes 20 Other Stores

Bankrupt Neiman Marcus has finally decided which stores to keep and which ones to shed.

In a bankruptcy court filing this week, the luxury department store retailer said it is keeping 44 locations, and closing the Hudson Yards Manhattan flagship along with 20 other  stores.

Though the glittering westside luxury temple opened its doors in March last year to great fanfare, the jewel in Neiman’s crown has long been dogged by whispers questioning whether it could possibly turn a profit. The site was barely opened a year before it had to shut down as the coronavirus outbreak ripped through New York. And in recent weeks there have been rumblings in Manhattan’s real estate circles that landlord Related Cos. was courting new tenants, especially office-based prospects, to take over the multi-floor space. Though Hudson Yards hasn’t yet fully reopened, some retail tenants have begun to offer curbside pickup.

Earlier this month, A&G Real Estate Partners began marketing four of the luxury chain’s leases, including a California location in Walnut Creek, a Florida store in the pricey Palm Beach enclave, and a store in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue, Wash. While these three are part of the 21 leaves Neiman is rejecting, it’s keeping a store in D.C.’s posh Mazza Gallerie mall, which A&G had been shopping around.

Neiman filed its Chapter 11 petition for bankruptcy court protection on May 7. In addition to the 44 Neiman locations the company will keep open, the luxury retailer is also keeping Bergdorf Goodman intact. Neiman operates its main store, known as the women’s store, at 754 Fifth Ave. in Manhattan and the one across the street, the men’s store, at 745 Fifth Ave.

Neiman is trying to wrap things up in bankruptcy court so it can exit Chapter 11 proceedings in September. The company earlier this year stepped away from the Last Call off-price business.

One potential snag: the transfer of its German luxury website in back 2018 to a separate entity out of the reach of creditors and not part of the bankruptcy. Unsecured creditors, who are on the lower rungs of the totem pole in terms of who gets paid first, have questioned the transfer and are seeking to recover monetary damages to help satisfy their claims against the retailer. The parties need to resolve this conflict soon because Neiman’s disclosure statement on its plan of reorganization needs to be approved before the restructuring plan can be confirmed, and a hearing is set for next week. And both components are needed before Neiman can exit bankruptcy proceedings.