After a volatile day of trading triggered by lackluster same-store sales results and talks of lowered interest rates, retail shares snapped back in late-session action on word that struggling mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp. might be bought by Bank of America.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.9 percent to 12,853.09, while the broader S&P 500 clocked a 0.8 percent gain, closing at 1,420.33, according to Yahoo Finance. The S&P Retail Index grew 0.9 percent to 378.38.
Shares of apparel stocks fell in early trading on weak December same-store sales numbers. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke's speech Thursday said that the central bank is prepared to act aggressively to help fix the faltering economy. But his remarks soothed investors only briefly.
However, the possible sale of Countrywide improved the mood of Wall Street in the last two hours of trading.
In the retail sector, women's apparel retailer AnnTaylor Stores Corp. was hit the hardest after slashing fourth-quarter earnings guidance and missing comps expectations. Shares of the company were down 15.5 percent, ending the day at $19.95. But competitor Chico's FAS Inc. saw a 3.8 percent rise in shares to $7.58 despite missing its sales guidance.
Gap Inc. dropped 7.1 percent to $17.97 on its weak December performance, while Limited Brands Inc. rose 2 percent to $16.01 on upwardly revised earnings guidance.
Teen retailers Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. fell 4.9 percent on a slight same-store sales decline, while Abercrombie and Fitch Co. dropped 2.3 percent, closing at $73.37, on softer same-store sales.
But shares of American Eagle Outfitters Inc., which has been struggling with sales recently, soared 7 percent to $18.97 despite lower earnings guidance. Investors keyed in on bright spots in the retailer's sales performance such as men's wear.
Off-pricers reported a successful holiday and were awarded by investors. Shares of TJX Cos. Inc. jumped 6.9 percent to $28.45, while Ross Stores Inc. soared 11.2 percent, closing at $24.57.
Discounter Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was also a bright spot in an otherwise dismal holiday. Shares of the retail giant swelled 3.2 percent to $48.40 as comps came in better than expected.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)