Major global indices were generally down slightly, although in the U.S. the equity indices ended mixed on Wednesday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4 percent to 16,462.74, while the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group in the U.S. inched up 0.2 percent to 932.60.
Among the retail gainers were Zale Corp., up 3.5 percent to $16.51, Coldwater Creek Inc., up 1.2 percent to 83 cents and Delia’s Inc., up 1.1 percent to 92 cents.
Among the losers were J.C. Penney Co. Inc, which fell 10 percent to $7.37 after the retailer provided an update of its performance during the holiday season, but left out specifics on data to quantify its conclusions.
The 64-word statement, for a 61-day holiday selling season, said it was “pleased” with its performance and noted its “continued progress” in its turnaround efforts. Penney’s also said customers “responded well” to its merchandise offerings. It reaffirmed fourth-quarter guidance for sequential and year-over-year improvement in comparable-store sales and gross margin.
Maxim Group analyst Rick Snyder said that Penney’s “December sale release is remarkable for being unremarkable.” He noted that there was no quantification of December comps, although the November sales release had noted that comps had risen by 10.1 percent. Snyder also pointed out that investors “deal in absolutes, while adjectives are wholly subjective.” So while investors weren’t pleased with the lack of “absolute” information, Snyder did conclude that there was one positive takeaway from the update: Penney’s still expects to end the quarter with $2 billion in liquidity, the part of the outlook that was reaffirmed.
Other retailers that saw declines were Pacific Sunwear of California, down 5.9 percent to $3.37, and Christopher & Banks Corp., which decreased 3.9 percent to $7.34.
In overseas trading, the markets in Europe generally were down slightly, although London’s FTSE 100 endured a 0.5 percent drop to 6,721.78 after grocer J. Sainsbury report a 0.2 percent increase in third-quarter same-store sales and issued a cautious outlook regarding post-holiday spending.
Milan’s FTSE MIB declined 0.2 percent, to 19,436.30, while the CAC 40 in Paris and DAX in Frankfurt fell less than 0.1 percent, with the Paris index landing at 4,260.96 and Frankfurt’s at 9,497.84.
Decliners in the fashion and luxury sectors included Ferragamo, off 5.8 percent to 26 euros; Brunello Cucinelli, off 5 percent to 24.85 euros, and Moncler, down 4.2 percent to 14.75 euros.
Bucking the generally downward trend were Prada, up 3.7 percent to 71.59 Hong Kong dollars, and value retailer Bonmarché Holdings, up 3.6 percent to 2.56 pounds. Bonmarché isn’t related to the Le Bon Marché department store in Paris.
The euro traded for $1.36 against the U.S. dollar versus $1.64 for the pound, $1.10 for the Swiss franc and 12.9 cents for the Hong Kong dollar.
Exclusive: Nicola Formichetti is parting ways with @diesel after nearly four years. Formichetti, who served as Lady Gaga’s stylist in 2009, joined Diesel in 2013 as creative and artistic director. His first show debuted in Venice with a show held at the Venetian Arsenal. #wwdfashion #wwdnews
The polo shirt - an icon of preppy style - is roaring back into fashion in many creative guises, like this A-line polyester top from @carven, worn with @31philliplim cotton and elastane pants. Designers stretched a fashion classic into all kinds of new permutations this season. See how @mayteallende styled the preppy trend on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📸 : Kinya)
(Market Editors: @andrew_shang and @elmercer, Makeup: @amandawilsonmakeup using @fentybeauty, Hair: @gonn24, Model: @bara_holotova at @women360mgmt)
“I do like period [projects] a lot because I like creating those worlds, a world that is different from today," costume designer Mark Bridges said about the '50s British couture featured in @phantomthread. Bridges created the overall aesthetic and individual fashion looks for the film, which stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Lesley Manville and Vicky Krieps. Pictured here is a gown he designed for Krieps who plays Alma – the love interest of Day-Lewis' character, Reynolds Woodcock. #wwdfashion
@prada is embracing the holiday season with a series of short movies about the art of gift-giving. "The Postman's Gifts", which was directed by American filmmaker Autumn de Wilde, focuses on the brand's signature Prada Galleria bag and features Elijah Wood as the postman. In the first two episodes, Wood's delivers the iconic bag to @emmaroberts, who plays herself as a movie star, and Sasha Frolova. #wwdfashion
“I think I never met the person while we were working,” Vicky Krieps said of Daniel Day-Lewis, who she plays the love interest of in “Phantom Thread.” Day-Lewis remained perennially in character, so much so that she feels she’s just meeting him now. “It’s interesting to see how different he is in real life to the character,” Krieps said. WWD sat down with the 34-year-old actress to talk about her new role in the period film, which brings the fifties’ gender dynamics into the mix. Read more on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
@gucci has expanded its “Places” project to include six new cities. The initiative, which was first unveiled in July, aims to invite people to explore inspirational locations for the brand. On the list is the Biblioteca Angelica library in Rome pictured here. See the other five new venues on WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @massimo_listri_official)
#ad From tools to lashes, WWD rounded up wellness and beauty products guaranteed to take your skin care and makeup routines to the next level in 2018. Follow along as @laceandleatherbyelyse, @ashnfashn and @elleisalwayshere experiment with these products on their Instagram profiles and blogs. #NewYearBetterYou
Blogger @camilacoelho is one of the fastest growing beauty influencers around the world. The bilingual blogger has worked with brands like @revolve Beauty, @dior, @louisvuitton and more and has an Earned Media Value of $34,338,441, according to @tribedynamics. But Coelho isn’t the only influencer making a major impact — head to WWD.com to see the other fastest-growing influencers in six key global markets. #beautyfridays (📷: @zefashioninsider)