Retail stocks got a big bounce Thursday amid the broader market rally, even as March same-store sales showed major declines, most dramatically in the luxury sector.
But the sales decreases could have been a lot worse, and resulted in the cause-and-effect relationship between lower sales and declining share prices being turned inside out.
The S&P Retail Index jumped 14.41 points, or 4.6 percent, to 328.79, after rising 4.5 percent the previous day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 8,000 and kept on going, ending the day at 8,083.38, up 246.27 points or 3.1 percent, following a strong profit preview from Wells Fargo & Co.
The same-store sales results represented a flight by consumers to value and away from conspicuous consumption as job losses during the recession reached a total of more than 5 million in March and the U.S. unemployment rate increased to 8.5 percent — the highest level in over 25 years — from 7.6 percent.
Although last month’s retail results were worse than the February figures, they were still better than anticipated. The late timing of Easter, which is Sunday, didn’t help the numbers, but it’s expected to benefit April. Building on that projection, investors went on a buying spree Thursday, betting retailers may be further along in their fight to regain sales momentum.
“The overall tone for March was actually stronger than the reported sales performance,” said Michael Niemira, chief economist and director of research at the International Council of Shopping Centers. “If we adjust for the calendar shifts, sales for March were stronger than reported.”
Matt Katz, managing director at AlixPartners LLC, a restructuring and advisory firm, pointed to discounters and off-pricers like The TJX Companies Inc. (up 2 percent) and Ross Stores Inc. (up 3 percent) and clubs like Costco Wholesale Corp. (4 percent) and BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc. (8 percent) to support the proposition that “if you have strong product at good value, you’re going to win the day. But there is definitely still a luxury consumer.”
However, he said, “Price point is in right now.” Katz acknowledged the “trade-up consumer is no longer there” and the upscale customer base is not what it had been.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye