Retail stocks slipped today even as Wall Street's major indices closed at new highs.
The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group fell 0.5 percent to 859.77 after beginning the week with a 1.9 percent advance. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 eked out increases of 0.1 and 0.04 percent, respectively, to reach fresh all-time high closes of 16,715.44 and 1,897.45. The S&P was quoted at 1,902.17 in morning trading, its first taste of life above the 1,900 milestone.
The strongest gain among the retail, fashion and beauty stocks tracked by WWD came from Pacific Sunwear of California, shares of which rose 6 percent to $3. Shares of Blue Nile and Joe’s Jeans Inc. both rose 3.5 percent, to $30.97 and 94 cents, with Joe’s advance ending a five-day retreat that saw shares pull back from $1.05.
Shares of Lululemon Athletica Inc. ended the day up 1.4 percent, at $45.38, after rising as much as 4.5 percent in morning trading. International Strategy & Investment analyst Omar Saad suggested in a research note that the firm, best known for its leading position in the yoga category, might be the target of takeover interest from VF Corp.
Shares of Elizabeth Arden Inc. fell 22.8 percent to $27.50 after the company said it hired Goldman, Sachs & Co. to assist its board in “exploring potential strategic alternatives” and reported a wider third-quarter loss. Shares of Cache Inc. fell at half that pace to land at $1.40.
In Europe, most major indices gained ground.
The DAX in Frankfurt led the rises, finishing up 0.5 percent to 9,754.43, followed by the FTSE 100 in London and the CAC 40 in Paris, which both gained 0.3 percent to 6,873.08 and 4,505.02, respectively. In Milan, the FTSE MIB, the strongest performer of the four so far in 2014, finished down, losing 1.1 percent to 21,255.99.
Fashion, luxury and retail stocks put in a more uneven performance.
Among those in decline were Safilo Group, which fell 2.3 percent to 16.35 euros; Mulberry, down 1.2 percent to 7.29 pounds, and Geox, down 1.3 percent to 3.09 euros.
Aeffe slipped 4.8 percent to 1.15 euros, after the Italian firm said its first-quarter revenues fell 7.3 percent at constant exchange rates to 67.6 million euros, or $93 million, compared to the previous year. However, net profit for the period rose 59.5 percent to 3.2 million euros, or $4.4 million, during the period, as the firm said its margins improved due to lower operating costs.
Stocks in the sector that moved ahead included Marks & Spencer, up 2.1 percent to 4.68 pounds; French Connection, which climbed 3.5 percent to 88 pence; Brunello Cucinelli, up 2 percent to 20.80 euros, and Kering, up 1.1 percent to 157.50 euros.
The pound traded for $1.69 against the U.S. dollar, while the euro changed hands for $1.38.
“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