No one is raving about the retail business, only parts of it.
Luxury, off-price and online are the best sectors, while regular stores, moderate and lower-priced merchandise are generally flat, according to a group of retail chief executive officers speaking separately on Bloomberg Radio’s “Titans of Retail” show Friday, making for a sobering synopsis.
“In the U.S., the best category is luxury. The highest demographic customers are really shopping in full force,” said Richard Baker, chairman and ceo of Hudson’s Bay Co. The moderate sector is “rather flat, not negative,” he added, in his conversation with show hosts Kathleen Hays and Vonnie Quinn and guest host Kenneth C. Natori, vice president of The Natori Co.
Baker was followed by Tony Spring, Bloomingdale’s chairman and ceo, who said, “We continue to see good business growth across the country. Clearly there are pockets where business is a little softer.”
“Business is good, not great. It’s OK,” Bill Dillard III, vice president of Dillard’s, said later. Told Dillard’s stock is up 25 percent year-to-date, closing at $121.80 on Friday, Dillard said, “We’re not setting the world on fire. We’re grinding it out and making some money....Great products, a good assortment, great service — those things will never go out of vogue.”
“We think there’s a massive opportunity to bring brands online and extend those brands into any channel the customer wants,” said Dave Gilboa, cofounder and co-ceo of Warby Parker, who was inspired to start the company in college when he lost his $700 glasses. Warby, which has raised $115 million, is investing in technology and stores.
Karen Katz, president and ceo of the Neiman Marcus Group, noted that the company had been quick to respond to the challenge of developing e-commerce and that it accounts for more than 23 percent of revenues. “We believe we’ve actually figured out how to sell luxury online to the affluent consumer,” she said.
The investments necessary to develop a strong e-commerce business played a role in the company’s decision last year to sell itself to Ares Management LLC and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for $6 billion, rather than testing the waters of an initial public offering. She said among the criteria considered were a new owners’ understanding of “what it is to serve affluent customers” and a willingness to invest capital for renovations and the e-commerce business.
Starting as an e-commerce pure-play, Bonobos has recently modified its business model to go omnichannel since customers “want to touch and feel clothes,” said Andy Dunn, ceo and cofounder of Bonobos, the men’s pants company that has ventured into men’s tailored clothing, furnishings and through the AYR brand, women’s wear. A recent round of financing, which generated $55 million, will allow Bonobos to “triple or quadruple” the number of its guide shops in the next few years from 10 currently. The shops have taught the company that “customers don’t have to walk out of a store with the product in their hands,” Dunn said.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)