Last-minute holiday shoppers elevated sales to their strongest increase of the month last week, with gift cards playing a critical role.
According to the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs Weekly Chain Store Sales Index, sales in retail categories other than restaurants and automotive areas were up 3 percent during the week ended Dec. 28, versus the year-ago week, better than the 2.7 percent increase logged during the prior week or the 2 and 1.5 percent gains logged during the second and first weeks of the month, respectively.
The sequential improvement as December progressed gave Michael Niemira, vice president of research and chief economist of ICSC, cause for optimism for the remainder of the month. ICSC expects the increase for December to land at between 3 and 4 percent.
“Business was brisk in the final days ahead of Christmas and for the week as a whole,” the ICSC official said. “Now attention turns to holiday gift-card redemptions.”
The ICSC-Goldman Sachs consumer tracking survey found that the average share of holiday spending attributable to gift cards rose to 23.7 percent this year, the highest on record.
“This is good news, as it means that the ‘extended season’ — the weeks after Christmas into January — will play an important role in the final tally of the season’s performance,” Niemira said.
Week-by-week trends weren’t as strong, according to the survey, with last week up 1 percent from the preceding one, when sales improved 1.4 percent over the week before. Sales for the week ended Dec. 14 were up 4.8 percent from those of the week ended Dec. 7, and sales during the first week were down 1.6 percent when compared with the final week of November, which included Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.
The ICSC-Goldman Sachs survey measures same-store sales at brick-and-mortar retailers.
“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