Neiman Marcus offers extravagant gifts

November 6, 2008 5:53:23 PM PST
We've heard today that retail sales are at their weakest levels since 1969. But says that doesn't stop some people from dreaming big.

Every holiday has a wish book, so should we scale down our wishes because we're scaling down our spending? At least one retailer says no way -- that's no fun and wishing is still free.

With the economy tanking it seems everybody's talking about how to save save, save.

There is fear many of us will spend less this holiday and retailers are bracing for their worst season in years, but you'd never know it.

By looking at this year's Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, the high end retailer thumbed its powdered nose at all the Wall Street turbulence and offered a catalog filled with pure extravagance.

"We do have customers who look forward to it every year as the ultimate wish book," said Neiman Marcus spokesperson Ginger Reeder.

Some of the Neiman Marcus offerings include:

  • A golf course in your backyard custom designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus ? it costs $1 million.
  • A dream wedding on a private shore at Newport Beach goes for a mere $1.3 million.
  • An authentic Dallas Cowboys end zone built in your yard -- it's only $500,000.
  • A stable full of thoroughbred race horses complete with a trainer and manager --- will set you back $10 million.

    "I think it is a little out f sight, a little expensive," said a shopper in San Francisco.

    "People who work in the restaurant business, they can't afford those expensive toys," said another shopper in San Francisco.

    "I don't think, nobody would want that," said one customer.

    The Neiman Christmas Book has an 80 year tradition of offering absurdly outlandish fantasy gifts. But does anybody actually buy these things?

    "They're chosen to make people smile and say how who in the world would buy these things," said Reeder. "Really to capture somebody's imagination, but at the same time we have to be sure we can deliver it."

    She says usually two or three items sell each year. Everybody wonders who's buying, and Neiman Marcus isn't saying.

    Last year, it sold one of the diamond encrusted phones, a portrait made in chocolate and sometimes it's more than a few -- all 50 of the custom Lexus sedans sold out.

    If you missed that here's what else they're offering this year:

  • You can play in a real game with the Harlem Globetrotters for $110,000.
  • Install an authentic Irish pub in your house for $250,000.
  • Have statues made of Legos built to your likeness for $60,000.

    Reeder says some people can still splurge.

    "While most people are struggling and trying to figure out what their financial situation is, there are still people that have the means," said Reeder.

    So far, Neiman Marcus has sold three of the custom BMW'S. It's gotten hundreds of inquiries about the other items. Some serious, some cranks, some just dreaming.

    "We all have to dream and sometimes just to escape from the doom and gloom and sort of loss of control. Who knows what's going to happen tomorrow," said Reeder.

    A $1 million is a little on the high end for most of us, so Neiman Marcus put out a gift book of stuff that's UNDER $300 -- a bargain by comparison and it's only partly in response to the economy.

    Related links:

  • Neiman Marcus wish list
  • Neiman Marcus Christmas Book
  • Neiman Marcus gifts by price


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