Neiman Marcus to Take Plastic of the Masses

The NM edition of the 2012 Ferrari FF goes from 0 to 60 in less than 3.7 seconds and can go faster than 200 mph, according to the catalog. It has a "unique" exterior color: "Grigio Caldo" (cold grey). Price: $395,000

Luxury department store Neiman Marcus, land of the $525 Gucci GG Jacquard Dress Shirt, has cultivated a  ritzy exclusivity has long extended all the way to the cash register.  Customers are welcome to pay with a branded-Neiman Marcus credit card, American Express or cash.

Visa or MasterCard need not apply.

But now, the Wall Street Journal reports, Neiman Marcus will begin accepting Visa and MasterCard at its 41 luxury outposts Nov. 1. The move is intended to sell more goods to younger, less wealthy customers.

Neiman Marcus may well need those new customers after a year of a weak profits driven by the chain’s reliance on charging ever-higher prices to its wealthy clientele. In the quarter ended July 30, the chain had profit of $31.6 million on sales of $4 billion. Compare that to the $241 million in profit Macy’s Inc. posted for the same period on sales of $5.9 billion.

Still, some members of Neiman’s wealthy cohort will be sad to see their prized, brown and beige-strapped Neiman cards lose some of their cachet.

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