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.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
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