Retail sales last week expanded for the third consecutive week but the gains remained nominal.
The International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs chain store sales index rose 1.5 percent over the comparable 2013 week and 0.7 percent over the prior week during the seven days ended Saturday. That represented a deceleration from the week ended March 8, when the gains were 2.1 and 1.3 percent, respectively.
ICSC found that stores geared to discretionary spending performed best last week, with department, furniture and non-apparel specialty retailers among the stronger performers. Many stores selling staple goods, including discounters and wholesale clubs, saw business soften.
“The later Easter this year versus last year, as well as the lingering winter weather, is likely paring the consumer’s appetite for seasonal merchandise, but the strengthening in some of the discretionary segment, such as furniture and department stores, is fundamentally positive,” said Michael Niemira, vice president of research and chief economist at ICSC.
The survey also found a slowing of promotional pressures as the SaleTally-ICSC Promotions Index fell for the second consecutive week. “By store size, medium and large retailers led the reduced promotional pace while small retailers were, on average, more promotional for the week,” the ICSC official said.
Hampered by severe weather and uneven demand, the sales index in the past nine weeks has ranged between flat and ahead 2.3 percent while the sequential change has been as low as a 1.9 percent decrease and as strong as 2.5 percent.
Transportation costs have taken a bite out of discretionary spending, ICSC noted, with the price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline up 3.5 cents last week. That represents the sixth consecutive week of higher prices, pushing the cost of a fill-up to its highest level since Sept. 16.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@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