NEW YORK — Whoever sees June and July as markdown, slash-and-cut clearance months, may want to do some rethinking.
Of the retailers reporting second-quarter results last week, the majority experienced higher, year-over-year gross margin rates as inventories remained lean and promotional markdowns were few.
Of the 17 apparel retailers reporting results, 11 posted gross margin rate gains while 6 reported declines. Of the gainers, eight were above 100 basis points while three, Aeropostale Inc., Stein Mart Inc. and Gap Inc., delivered gross margin gains above 250 basis points.
The second quarter for most of these companies closed at the end of July, which, along with June, have been traditional clearance months at retail.
But this year, retailers have pulled the trigger on markdowns later in the quarter, and in some cases, into the current quarter. Moreover, because of better managed inventories, there’s been fewer goods to mark down.
For example, improved inventory management, along with a focused effort to reduce markdowns, paid off for Gap Inc. On Thursday, the retailer posted second-quarter sales that inched up 1 percent to $3.72 billion from $3.69 billion.
But due to a disciplined approach to selling goods at fuller prices, the impact on Gap Inc.’s margins was immense. The gross margin rate jumped 250 basis points to 38.46.
“Gross margin expansion should continue as the company concentrates on more full-price selling and fewer markdowns to lift merchandise margins,” wrote Margaret Mager, equity analyst at Goldman Sachs, in her research note following Gap’s results. “We see the most improvement potential on the gross margin line.”
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion
“I’m Russian and I love to use all these little tricks that I got from my grandma or my mom. We didn’t have a lot of money for creams or anything like that so we would use a garden as a beauty treatment regime. We’d put cucumber in the fridge and do a cucumber mask,” says model @irinashayk on one of her beauty hacks. WWD asked celebs what their go-to self-care rituals are. See what Naomie Harris, Freida Pinto and more said on WWD.com. #wwdeye #wwdbeauty (📷: @zefashioninsider)
Exclusive: @viktorandrolf are teaming up with @Zalando on a collection made from leftover clothing. The lineup, which lands at the retailer February 1, includes 17 pieces adorned with sliced up and repurposed overstock from the retailer’s private label collection. Pictured here is a look from the collection –– see more on WWD.com. #wwdfashion #wwdnews
@duewestnyc is the newest bar joining the collection of intimate neighborhood-focused spaces in the West Village. The cocktail menu, which includes bitters and syrups made in-house, offers a “Build Your Own Old-Fashioned” – like the one pictured here – where guests can choose from a list of spirits and unexpected sugars and bitters. #wwdeye
Spotted at last night’s National Board of Review gala in NYC: Angelina Jolie. Jolie – along with Meryl Streep, @lupitanyongo and more – continued the all-black dress code from Sunday’s Golden Globes. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)