WASHINGTON — Apparently undaunted by higher gasoline prices, consumers continued to spend in June and early July and the economy is growing without inflation, according to a Federal Reserve Board survey released Wednesday.
The so-called Beige Book, which intended to provide a reading on the overall economy with anecdotal evidence from the Fed's 12 districts, helped propel gains in U.S. stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average went up 0.5 percent to 10,637 and the Standard & Poor's 500 increased 0.5 percent to 1,236, its highest point in four years.
Retail sales rose in most regions of the country and future expectations were generally positive. Stores in the Cleveland and Chicago districts appeared to benefit from warmer weather, while retailers in the Philadelphia, Richmond and San Francisco regions also registered sales increases.
The Minneapolis region showed broad-based growth, with one North Dakota mall manager reporting a 5 to 10 percent sales bump in June and a "huge" first week of July. Sales were described as "outstanding" at a mall in Montana.
The signs of consumers' willingness to approach the cash register bears out a recent Commerce Department report that showed a 7.6 percent year-over-year sales rise at apparel and accessories stores in June to $16.78 billion.
The good vibes were not universal, though, as Boston and New York area retailers saw some softening.
In the New York area, higher-end apparel and jewelry showed strength that was offset by weaker sales of home goods. Overall, June sales in New York were on or above plan, with hot weather helping sales of summer fashions, but early July results tapered off.
Some Philadelphia area merchants said shoppers had cut back on some impulse buying and were making fewer trips to stores to keep gasoline expenses in check. Several retail executives said increased operating costs had them concentrating on growing sales rather than opening new doors.
In other areas of Wednesday's report, demand for labor continued to increase, tourism strengthened and manufacturing activity expanded, though textiles producers, which have been battling increased imports from China, continued to report hard times.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)