Better retail sales in February helped stoke investor optimism Tuesday, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average over 13,000, while the S&P Retail Index topped 600.
Sales at apparel and accessories stores rose a seasonally adjusted 1.8 percent to $19.7 billion in February compared with January, while sales at department stores rose 1.5 percent to $15.4 billion. General merchandise stores, a category that includes department stores and discounters, posted a 0.1 percent decline to $53.6 billion.
Overall retail sales increased 1.1 percent to $407.8 billion, slightly ahead of the 1 percent gain economists expected.
“Clothing and department stores came on like gangbusters in February since the spring fashion line was in sync with the weather conditions and many outlets were offering discounts to move their excess winter apparel inventory,” said Chris G. Christopher Jr., senior principal economist at IHS Global Insight. “Retailers had a good month in February as unseasonably warm weather, increased consumer confidence, better job prospects and a strong stock market helped Americans open their wallets despite feeling the pinch at the pump. Spending was broad-based, with very few exceptions.”
IHS is forecasting that consumer spending adjusted for inflation will increase 2 percent for the first quarter of the year.
Kevin Regan, senior managing director of FTI Consulting, said the apparel area is “popping.”
“The story this month has to be the teen sector because of The Buckle and Zumiez,” Regan said, noting it is hard to get a broad read because fewer retailers are reporting monthly comparable-store sales. “The good news is the Gap reported positive comps, which is unusual since they have struggled in the past year, even though some divisions may have been positive.”
Regan said spring merchandise and unseasonably warm weather has helped boost retail revenues.
“Nordstrom and Saks are doing very well,” he said. “Macy’s continues to be up there in terms of performance, but Bon-Ton is muddling along and Kohl’s had a disappointing dip in how they performed. I don’t know if that simply reinforces the fact that the people who can afford to shop are shopping and those that can’t are stretching their pennies…and doing what they can as they continue to slowly experience improvements in the economy.”
The S&P Retail Index rose 0.8 percent, or 4.58 points, to 602.72, marking the first time the measure of the retail sector has topped 600. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 1.7 percent, or 217.97, to 13,177.68.
The fashion gainers included Coldwater Creek Inc., which rose 13.5 percent to $1.26; Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., 12.6 percent to $2.51, and American Apparel Inc., 12 percent to $1.02. After the market closed, Pacific Sunwear reported fourth-quarter net losses of $38.1 million, but still topped analyst estimates. And American Apparel Inc. secured a new credit facility.
Also gaining ground for the day were Bon-Ton Stores Inc., up 6.8 percent to $8.59; Nordstrom Inc., 2.3 percent to $54.90; Gap Inc., 1.4 percent to $25.45; Kohl’s Corp., 1.3 percent to $51.25; Saks Inc., 0.9 percent to $11.52; The Buckle Inc., 0.6 percent to $49.43, and Macy’s Inc., 0.5 percent to $39.57.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
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