Attempts to sell spring merchandise got a helping hand from better weather to begin March, helping to lift chain-store sales 2.1 percent over those of the comparable 2013 week.
The International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs, in their weekly chain-store sales index, reported that sales for the week ended Saturday were up 1.3 percent from prior-week levels. The year-over-year change matched the level of the week ended Feb. 15 and the sequential figure was the best since the 2.5 percent mark registered during the February week.
Michael Niemira, vice president of research and chief economist at ICSC, told WWD that less severe weather conditions aided the sales pickup but weren’t solely responsible for it.
“I suppose we’re still struggling at this point to find the catalyst for spring selling that you would hope better weather might be,” he said. “Weather is going to continue to be an issue this month, based on all the forecasts, but I feel better with a good start to the month.”
While department stores and e-commerce have done better than the retail market in general in recent weeks, sales have been challenging at discount and dollar stores.
“There was better activity at discounters this past week, but some segments continue to struggle,” Niemira noted. “Dollar stores still look weak.”
He was also encouraged by an increase in the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index last month, which showed higher-income individuals feeling better about economic prospects than at any time since August.
“That’s one of those tidbits out there that’s quite encouraging,” the economist said. “You sort of count on the high end.”
He said he expects retail sales to come back in the second quarter but was cautious about the potential height of the bounce.
“We should see a rebound in the second quarter, but I don’t expect anything spectacular,” he concluded.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion