Retailers have sobered up after the promotional bacchanalia that drew record business on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
They’re still anticipating a good Christmas season, with sales forecasts generally from 2 to 6 percent ahead, and beginning this week they expect consumers to focus on gifts and shop less for themselves after last month’s indulgences. But confidence levels among retailers have slipped and it’s not just due to the post-Thanksgiving lull that sets in every year until the final two weeks before Christmas. November sales results, reported Thursday by major retailers, fell short overall. Temperatures haven’t been low enough yet to spark cold-weather categories to the degree retailers planned for. And the last-minute rush for gifts is expected to be really last minute this year, as shoppers anticipate another avalanche of price cutting starting around Saturday, Dec. 17, otherwise known as Super Saturday.
According to the latest America’s Research Group/UBS Christmas Forecast, 58.8 percent of American consumers plan to wait for last-minute deals, up from 47.2 percent in 2010. The findings are based on 1,000 telephone interviews conducted from Dec. 2 to 4. “While bargains may be the force behind consumers’ moves this year, shoppers don’t seem as willing to break a sweat as in the past,” said Britt Beemer, chief executive officer of ARG. “American consumers are either at home wrapping their gifts or laying in the weeds ready to pounce on last-minute deals. There’s virtually no in-between.”
“Since Cyber Monday, there has been a normalization of what we would expect. The environment continues to be very promotional and seems like it’s only increasing,” said Chris Kolbe, president of Lands’ End, addressing the retail landscape overall. “With November just OK, there’s more pressure in December to perform.…Leading up to Black Friday, people were buying a lot for themselves, like outerwear jackets, new dresses, new boots. But right about now, it starts getting more about gift giving.”
“The hype of what went on post Thanksgiving sucked some momentum out of the stores,” said one department store executive, who requested anonymity. “But when you add what’s being done online to the store business, together, it’s not so bad. I’m not saying there is more uncertainty, but we’ll see what happens.”
One senior executive at a major regional chain said: “Like most folks, we pushed a lot of business into Black Friday with elongated hours and sales. That was very good. Since then it’s been a little bit up and down. You do better on days when you have promotions than on the days when you don’t. We’ve also had some weather issues, but we still feel pretty good about the season. We are pretty optimistic.”
“There is always a bit of a letdown after that Thanksgiving weekend, always a lull,” observed Steve Siegler, president of J. McLaughlin. “It’s like consumers need to take a breather after getting so inundated with promotions.” In the days since Thanksgiving weekend, “Traffic has been a little up and down. It’s hard to predict. Business seemed to be OK in the first part of last week, died in the middle of the week, and picked up last weekend.”
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion