U.S. retail stocks closed out the week with small declines as wintry weather limited both volume on Wall Street and commercial activity throughout much of the Northeast.
The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group spent much of the day in positive territory but finished down 0.2 percent at 934.76. The Dow Jones Industrial Average eked out a 0.2 percent gain to 16,469.99, while the S&P 500 was off less than 0.1 percent to 1,831.37.
While retailers wondered whether the storm that barreled into the Northeast on Thursday night would limit clearance selling over the weekend, investors weighed the words of outgoing Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, who said that the Fed’s tapering of its bond-buying program didn’t signal a retreat from economic stimulus.
Shares of Rite Aid Corp. shot up 8.5 percent to $5.47 after it reported a 2.9 percent increase in its same-store sales for December. Shares of American Apparel Inc. picked up 6.7 percent to $1.27, while Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. enjoyed a 5.8 percent gain to close the trading day at $3.64.
On the opposite end of the ledger, Christopher & Banks Corp. shares were off 7.8 percent to $7.88 and Zale Corp., up strongly in several recent sessions, shed 4.6 percent to $15.40. Vince Holding Corp. shares were down 2.1 percent, to $29.32, following the company’s disclosure of third-quarter results, covering a period just before its initial public offering, that were generally consistent with or slightly better than analysts’ expectations.
Europe’s indices all ended the week on an up note.
The FTSE MIB in Milan gained the most, rising 1 percent to 19,112.65, while the CAC 40 in Paris closed up 0.5 percent to 4,247.65. The DAX in Frankfurt was up 0.4 percent to 9,435.15, while the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.2 percent to 6,730.67.
Retailers continued to lead the increases in London. Robust holiday trading figures from Next made the retailer the top performer in the FTSE 100 Friday, with its shares rising 11.7 percent to 60.85 pounds. Next reported that sales in the period from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 rose 11.9 percent compared to the same period last year. The retailer also raised its pretax profit forecast for the year ending Jan. 25 to between 684 million and 700 million pounds, or $1.13 billion to $1.16 billion.
That news sent shares of other British retailers up by the close of trading. Asos.com gained 3.5 percent to 67.05 pounds, while Marks & Spencer rose 2 percent to 4.35 pounds. Even Debenhams, which had issued a profit warning earlier in the week, rose 3.9 percent to 78 pence.
Among the few European fashion stocks that lost ground Friday were Prada, which fell 1.2 percent to 68.80 Hong Kong dollars; LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, down 0.2 percent to 131 euros, and Kering, which slipped 0.4 percent to 153.20 euros.
The pound traded at $1.65 against the U.S. dollar, while the euro traded for $1.37 and the Hong Kong dollar for 13 cents.
“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