The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index fell in March, after improving in February. The Index is now at 59.7, down from 68 last month.
Both components of the Index showed declines. The present situation portion decreased to 57.9 from 61.4, while the expectations component dropped to 60.9 from 72.4. Economists in general were expecting the Index to hold steady at 68.
Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said, “Consumer Confidence fell sharply in March, following February’s uptick. This month’s retreat was driven primarily by a sharp decline in expectations, although consumers were also more pessimistic in their assessment of current conditions.
“The loss of confidence, particularly expectations, mirrors the losses experienced this past December and January. The recent sequester has created uncertainty regarding the economic outlook and as a result, consumers are less confident.”
Chris G. Christopher, Jr., director of consumer economics at IHS Global Insight, said, “Consumer confidence took a beating in March. The hit to consumer confidence was driven by rising pump prices and the sequester....Rising pump prices are hard for many Americans to deal with since paychecks are smaller due to the expiry of the payroll tax cut in January.
“This is a bad report. Looking ahead, we expect consumer confidence to gain ground as the shock value of the sequester disappears. However, smaller paychecks, depressed consumer mood, and rising pump prices are not very favorable for elevated levels of discretionary spending,” Christopher added.
In the Conference Board’s March survey, consumers’ perception of the labor front — whether jobs are available — continues to be a main focus for both current conditions and expectations over the next six months.
Those surveyed who said jobs are “plentiful” fell to 9.4 percent from 10.1 last month. The pessimism was also evident in the jobs outlook six months out. Respondents who said they expect more jobs in the months ahead decreased to 12.3 percent from 16.1 percent, while those who said they expect fewer jobs six months out rose to 26.6 percent from 22.1 percent.
Corresponding with the job front expectations, the proportion of consumers who expect their incomes to rise declined to 13.7 percent from 15.8 percent.
While consumers may have turned pessimistic about their personal balance sheets, investors’ confidence suggests they’re okay with what has been perceived as a slow growth recovery.
U.S. equity markets rose Tuesday, with the major indices inching up. The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group rose 0.6 percent, or 4.59 points, to 725.32, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased by 0.8 percent, or 111.90 points, to 14,559.65.
Among the gainers were American Apparel Inc., up 12.9 percent to $2.37; Movado Group Inc., 5.1 percent to $33.95; Avon Products Inc., 4.2 percent to $20.84, and Amazon.com Inc., 1.7 percent to $260.31.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast