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Saks Fifth Avenue Flagship Appraised at $3.6 Billion as It Renews Neiman Push

The Saks Fifth Avenue flagship in New York. Shutterstock.
The Saks Fifth Avenue flagship in New York. (Shutterstock)

The owners of Saks Fifth Avenue are in talks to raise financing to bolster the cash portion of an offer to buy competitor Neiman Marcus, according to people familiar with the matter, moving two of America’s biggest high-end department stores closer to a deal after years of on-and-off courtship.

As part of the proposed financing, Saks’ flagship store at 611 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan was valued at $3.62 billion, one of the people said. That’s a notable increase from an appraisal of $1.6 billion in 2019 and close to its value of $3.7 billion in 2014, according to previous filings from parent company Hudson’s Bay Co.

Saks and its lenders had the property appraised so it could serve as collateral to raise debt for the financing efforts, the person said. Appraisers looked at the flagship earlier this month, the person added, a sign that deal talks between the two luxury chains are heating up again.

Spokeswomen for both companies declined to comment.

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The appraisal of the iconic New York department store, whose annual holiday window displays attract locals and tourists, is a testament to heightened demand for high-end real estate in the area in recent months. Gucci owner Kering SA and Prada SpA recently purchased properties farther up Fifth Avenue, near LVMH’s revamped Tiffany & Co. store. The deals have been bright spots for New York commercial real estate, which has been in the doldrums since the pandemic.

The valuation also means that the landmark property is now worth more than Hudson’s Bay paid for all of Saks Fifth Avenue when it acquired the company in 2013. That deal valued the luxury department-store chain at $2.9 billion, including debt.

Sales at both Saks and Neiman Marcus have been falling in recent quarters, although they’re up from pre-pandemic levels. It’s part of a broader decline across many apparel and accessories companies in the US as shoppers pare back their spending after splurging during the pandemic, adjusting to inflation that’s easing but still historically high.

Department stores — from the midrange to the high-end — have been struggling for years in the US, even before the pandemic. Consumers have shifted their shopping patterns, preferring to buy directly from brands’ stores or online, or pivoting to Sephora instead of frequenting the department stores’ beauty counters. Neiman Marcus filed for bankruptcy in 2020 and the Dallas-based company is owned by Pacific Investment Management Co., Davidson Kempner Capital Management and Sixth Street Partners.

Saks Fifth Avenue’s online business is majority-owned by Hudson’s Bay and minority-owned by Insight Partners, while the department chain’s brick-and-mortar stores are wholly owned by Hudson’s Bay.

Buffeted by long-term headwinds, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus have been discussing a possible tie-up in fits and starts for years. The latest round of negotiations began in earnest in recent months, part of broader efforts to consolidate within the high-end apparel and beauty industry. Coach owner Tapestry Inc. is buying Michael Kors parent Capri Holdings Ltd., for example, Estée Lauder Cos. purchased Tom Ford and Kering snagged a 30 percent stake in Valentino.

By Jeannette Neumann and Gillian Tan

Learn more:

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How Luxury Players Are Reviving New York’s Real Estate Market

The slew of blockbuster deals from LVMH, Kering and Prada are proving to be a bright spot in an otherwise tough commercial property market.

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