"Further, even if a store is placed in an area where you believe the market "doesn't get it," they can still curate the store to appeal to the population. "
A company like Neiman's doesn't buy for one store. When they go to market in Paris, Milan, and all over, they are buying across the board for all of their stores. Yes, stores in more fashionable markets like New York, Miami and LA will carry more expensive items, but the store goes into contract with a designer to carry certain pieces in all of their stores. So no, Neiman's can't buy mid tier and lower tier brands just to meet their customers in a certain market.
The high end American Department Stores probably go in this order - Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom. Nordstroms could also be the high end of the mid tier like Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor, Macy's.
and r302, don't say you "Don't Know" where Neiman's stores are. That's easy enough to find on the web. Just say you are fine without knowing - or don't care to know, like seems to be the case with several other key pieces of information on this thread. It's OK not to know. But don't hold your ignorance up as justification for your arguments. Neiman's in New York City may be booming, but I have no idea how they are supporting three stores in IL when Chicago itself is hardly a fashion destination.
I think you are missing the point entirely as far as the pricing goes. I'll try to explain it this way. Certain luxury brands are driven by the vision of one designer. The people who buy the clothes are fans of that designer's vision. Karl Lagerfeld did Chanel AND Fendi for over 40 years. Dior has come to life under the helm of Maria Grazie for the past couple of years after it squandered when they had to let go of Galliano. I know from the outside it seems like a huge conglomerate creating these things. BUT at the major luxury fashion house, there is a major designer with a vision that the house truly believes in. Phoebe Philo left the house of Celine and frankly the brand has tanked since she has. When Tom Ford, who was known for overtly sexual, aggresively-feminine designs, left Gucci, it squandered until Alessandro Michele took over and completely reinvented it into this avant guard, quirky brand that's on fire now. Marc Jacobs left Louis Vuitton but it's trying to find its feet again under Virgil Abloh.
These designers are artists - at this level, master designers. So owning their clothes, owning clothes from specific collections is like owning a piece of their artwork. Now a dress that a couturier hand beads for over 100 hours might not seem like it's worth $100K, but the fact that it is Karl Lagerfeld's vision makes it so. It's akin to a Picasso. Now if Banksy were to make a t-shirt with his name painted across the front, it might be the best made t-shirt in the world, but it's not the quality that will get the $5000 asking price. It's Banksy's name and the fact that there are only ten in the world and he might never do this again, that gets the asking price.
Funny enough, there are some crap designers who basically steal material from fashion houses and just repurpose it. I would include Michael Kors in this list. Donna Karen was known for buying Chanel and Dior and having her seamstresses take it apart, make patterns, put it back together and return it. I wonder if Stella McCartney actually designs. She has nice pieces but they are all over the place. You'd never look at something and say - That's Stella! Calvin Klein is in the same condition now as his own personal health, all the stores have closed. Marc Jacobs was/is a genius. But even he has said he's lost touch with what women want, and it shows. Based on his instagram, he just needs to transition already.