Retail stocks gained ground Thursday as investors looked past mostly tepid September sales to Friday’s update on the job market.
The S&P Retailing Industry Group rose 0.9 percent, or 5.73 points, to 668.44 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6 percent, or 80.75 points, to 13,575.36.
Picking up steam were Chico’s FAS Inc., up 4 percent to $18.69; Tumi Holdings Inc., 3.9 percent to $23.91; Oxford Industries Inc., 3.5 percent to $57.26; Hot Topic Inc., 3.4 percent to $9.05, and Express Inc., 3.4 percent to $11.71.
None of those companies reported sales for September. Fitch Ratings described the reports from those that did report as “subdued,” but “positive overall.”
“Given back-to-school results, we expect holiday retail sales to grow at 3 to 4 percent, versus 4.1 percent in 2011,” Fitch said. “The sluggish economic and employment environment coupled with high gas prices leads us to expect promotional activity will remain the key driver for consumer traffic. As a result, we expect gross margins to be flat to slightly down for most retailers.”
There is some hope that the job market will show signs of strength today, but economists expect the unemployment rate to rise to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent. The U.S. hasn’t seen unemployment below 8 percent since January 2009.
In Europe, stock markets ended their day on a broadly flat after the region’s central bankers decided to keep benchmark interest rates on ice.
The FTSE 100 in London climbed 0.03 percent to 5,827.78 as other major markets fell. The DAX in Frankfurt and the FTSE MIB in Milan both sank 0.2 percent, to 7,305.21 and to 15,511.25, respectively. The CAC 40 in Paris was down 0.1 percent to 3,401.20.
Retail and luxury stocks were up, with the high street and Internet stocks among the best performers. The gainers included Asos.com, which climbed 2.9 percent to 22.82 pounds; Zara’s parent Inditex, 2.7 percent to 99.35 euros; Yoox, 3.1 percent to 10.62 euros, and Marks and Spencer Group plc, 1 percent to 3.66 pounds.
The euro traded at $1.29 against the dollar while the pound traded at $1.61 and the Swiss franc traded at $1.07.
The Bank of England kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 0.5 percent and opted not to inject more money into the economy than the current 375 billion pound program, although the BBC reported that the bank could increase that figure next month.
On the Continent, the European Central Bank also opted to maintain its rate at a record low of 0.75 percent. The bank’s president, Mario Draghi, said the decision to keep the rate steady was unanimous.
Draghi also talked about the bank’s efforts to reduce rising interest rates in troubled European countries through a new bond-buying program and sought to dispel any doubts about the future of the common currency. “The euro is irreversible,” he said at a press conference in Slovenia.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)