A few months back, I spoke with Karen Katz, the CEO of the Neiman Marcus Group, about her still-relatively-new job. (She took the post from the retiring Burt Tansky in the fall of 2010) After having worked her way up the retail portios of the corporate ladder, she said what she found herself having to learn the most about in her current role was technology, the company’s legacy systems for merchandising and e-commerce.
I thought it was strange that Neiman’s would be involved heavily in e-commerce, that people would be willing to buy a Chanel bag worth thousands of dollars online. “That was the original hesitation of people going online with luxury, but it’s not the case,” she said.
She told me that Neiman’s does $750 million in annual sales online, and RealPoints reported last October that the company expects its e-commerce revenue to double within five years.
Well, today the Dallas-based retailer announced its first foray into China. It’ll be partnering with a Chinese company called Glamour Sales on an e-commerce operation that will be branded with either the Neiman Marcus or Bergdorf Goodman name (Neiman’s also owns the Bergdorf brand).
I’m going to Haiti on Tuesday. The guy I’m meeting needs some parts for a project. (One-foot long screws are in that tube.) I have been enlisted to bring them down. Logistical question: can I get that sketchy looking package on the plane? Talking carry-on.
On MSNBC this morning, the Senator came out of hiding.
Thanks to the DMN City Hall blog for pointing to this Bloomberg News article about the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. While the writer has lots of nice things to say about the Santiago Calatrava design, he suggests that Large Marge may (because of Dallas’ “obsession with moving vehicles”) end up as nothing more than “an ornament on the skyline.”
And Calatrava himself doesn’t like how his bridge has been integrated into our road system:
On the other end, though, the road divides into a tangle of ramps that head in six directions to the intersection of two freeways. The ramps cost $100 million alone, half of which was land acquisition. This obsession with moving vehicles has filled Dallas andÂ Fort Worth with a huge freeway landscape and epic traffic jams.
“I told them they didn’t need all those ramps,” Calatrava said when I spoke to him in his Park Avenue townhouse office after I returned toÂ Manhattan. He said they could instead have sold the land next to the bridge and earned money on developments that feature bridge and parkland views.
But how practical is that viewpoint? Could we have gotten by without some of those interchanges? The primary objective of the bridge was always traffic relief, right? Once we decided to make Large Marge “world class,” should we have sacrificed some of that original aim?
I was remiss and forgot to wish you all a happy first day of spring. So, happy third day of spring, which actually pleases me more because 3 is my lucky number.
Speaking of the season, our very own Raya Ramsey hosts a cocktail party tonight at Tootsies. She’ll showcase the shop’s trendiest looks for balmy weather. There will be music, light bites, and of course, drinks. The nicest part about all this, besides the chance to hang out with the lovely Raya, is that if any of the outfits tickle your fancy, 15 percent of the evening’s sales will be donated to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Vivaldi Patron Circle. Shopping and supporting the arts at the same time sounds like a really pleasant way to bludgeon two pigeons with one solid piece of granite, and you can still RSVP to attend.
This weekend is also your final chance to catch the Uptown Player’s annual Broadway Our Way fundraiser. The theater company has been going strong for ten years, so, a very heartfelt congratulations to them.Â Tonight’s special Thursday performance will pit men against women on stage for a gender-bending take on past and present Broadway classics. There’s a reception after every show, and plenty of auction items on display (theater tickets, restaurant gift cards, hotel stays, and more) in case you’d like to place a bid and further help the cause.
For lots more to do this evening, go here.
A little more than two months ago, I posted about the prolonged drought in which we were mired and how Lake Lavon – a primary source of water for the North Texas Municipal Water Districts – sat at 12 feet below normal.
Today, thanks especially to the deluge of the last several days, Lake Lavon is 100 percent full, as are most of the other water reservoirs for our eastern side of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. This includes Grapevine Lake, Lewisville Lake, and Lake Ray Hubbard.
But we should continue to pray for our friends in West Texas. There’s still a lot of red on that drought map.
Richard Fisher lays out the fake capitalism inherent in Too Big To Fail in his opening letter to the annual report of the Dallas Fed. Key quote:
The TBTF institutions that amplified andÂ prolonged the recent financial crisis remain aÂ hindrance to full economic recovery and to theÂ very ideal of American capitalism. It is imperative that we end TBTF. In my view, downsizingÂ the behemoths over time into institutions thatÂ can be prudently managed and regulated acrossÂ borders is the appropriate policy response. OnlyÂ then can the process of Â “creative destruction”–which America has perfected and practicedÂ with such effectiveness that it led our countryÂ to unprecedented economic achievement–work its wonders in the financial sector, just asÂ it does elsewhere in our economy.
Fisher is only giving the summary. The full argument is given by economist Harvey Rosenblum here. Well worth the read. I can guess that the banking lobbyists will be swarming Capitol Hill this morning armed with tables and charts showing why it doesn’t make sense. Their problem, of course, is that it does make sense — and anybody who is not a member of Congress or on the big banks’ payroll knows it.
I know this little girl named Eva. Actually, that’s not exactly true. I’m friends with Eva’s parents and grandparents, but I haven’t gotten to know Eva very well, because she has cystic fibrosis. So she really shouldn’t be around people who are sick that often. And I have two snot-nosed sons, so we’ve deliberately reduced her exposure to them.
But I plan to spend time with Eva’s family on Saturday, and you can too. “Giving CF The Boot” is a fundraiser for the Eva’s Alliance Great Strides team. It’ll happen from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Plano location of Love and War in Texas, where music will be provided by Darryl Lee Rush and Lost Immigrants. If the tunes don’t entice you, perhaps the raffles for golf equipment and tequila will?
The suggested donation for admission is $10 per person or $25 per family. See you there?
There is a fascinating story today in the Wall Street Journal about Harold Simmons. In a lengthy 2010 story, we called him “Dallas’ Most Evil Genius” (not for his political leanings but because he’d found a way to get the federal government to pay him to bury toxic waste that, in essence, he’d created). The WSJ story offers more proof that the man knows how to get his way. Simmons was fined by the Federal Election Commission for surpassing contribution limits in 1988 and 1989. Now, though, he’s got Karl Rove’s super PAC, American Crossroads. With no limit on how much he can donate, Simmons has doled out $18 million to Republican super PACs, making him the 2012 election’s single largest contributor. He says he plans to give $36 million before the election.
Here are some other choice tidbits from the WSJ story:
He told the reporter: “Any of these Republicans would make a better president than that socialist, Obama. Obama is the most dangerous American alive … because he would eliminate free enterprise in this country.”
The lake at his Dallas house is encircled by 17,000 tulips. He sips lemonade iced tea (which the reporter fails to mention is called an Arnold Palmer) made with lemons grown on his California estate east of Santa Barbara. His Arkansas ranch is filled with 35 bears and 100 elk. He gives $50 and $100 bills to panhandlers to and from work. He often goes to Luby’s Cafeteria for a $5.95 lunch.
Anyway, those details are just fun to ponder. The political stuff, how the money flows, that’s the most important story of this election. You should read the entire story.
Family Helps Inmate Escape, Dallas Sheriff’s Department Spokesman Overuses Crutch Word. “The family had picked him up and actually provided him some money and actually got him away, got him on a bus, and was assisting him in eluding police,” said Dallas County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Raul Reyna. He continued, “The family wasn’t as cooperative in the beginning. We found they were actually lying to the officers at some point, and that’s when they brought them in.”
Christian License Plate For Sale. It’s ruffling the feathers of some, but not me because, besides for lazily using cliches, my next favorite thing is not caring about ginned-up fake controversies. You want the Calvary Hill plate? Awesome. That just points me in the right direction, swear-word-wise, when you cut me off in traffic. The only thing that really bothers me about this is it is making playing the license plate game on road trips super complicated.
Gallagher Released From Hospital, “Moving Around On His Own.” He had a heart attack before a performance at a Lewisville bar a week ago, came out of a medically induced coma Sunday, and should be mixing dated prop comedy with right wing “jokes” soon.
Collin County Deputies Bust “Crazy Project X Type Party” In McKinney. “We became aware of it and decided we would attend first,” Lt. John Norton said, then smiled, because it totally sounded like he thought it would when he wrote it down earlier. Kids, a word of warning: don’t use Craigslist for this type of foolishness. Police are already up on that. Twitter, guys. Or Tumblr. They’re still getting their arms around that.
Early Spring Brings Bobcats Into Frisco Neighborhoods. Dang. Well, anyway, we already know the cougars are out in Plano. NAILED IT.