The Neiman Marcus Group Inc., the luxury retailer owned by Warburg Pincus L.L.C. and TPG Capital, said yesterday that its first-quarter profit almost tripled, helped by a gain from freezing pensions.

But the Dallas company's profit margins eroded as it discounted merchandise.

"They are definitely in the promotion game, like everyone else," said John Lahman, a bond analyst with KDP Investment Advisors Inc., of Montpelier, Vt. "There is some consumer pullback."

Net income rose to $78.8 million in the quarter ended Oct. 27, including a onetime gain of $32.5 million from freezing pensions. A year earlier, profit was $27.2 million.

Sales at stores open at least a year rose 6.5 percent. Same-store sales are a key measure of the retailer's health because they exclude recently opened or closed locations.

Neiman said it was freezing pension and retirement benefits as of Dec. 31, which allowed it to reduce its liability for projected benefit obligations, giving it the onetime gain.

Gross margin, or the profit left after subtracting the cost of goods sold, fell to 41.08 percent from 41.61 percent a year earlier.