KEEPING PACE: January retail sales were expected to be a bit of a letdown, possibly even the end of a run of months stretching back to April in which stores’ same-store sales gains have exceeded 3 percent. Instead, comparable-store sales for the month averaged 4.2 percent higher, more than twice the 2 percent estimate provided by Thomson Reuters before Thursday’s flood of figures. Discounters carried the month, rising 6.1 percent, but the sectoral figure was even higher for specialty stores providing Gap Inc.’s 4 percent slide was excluded. With Gap, apparel specialty stores were up 3.3 percent; without it, the increase was 6.2 percent. RELATED STORY: Warm Weather Weighs on Comps; Luxe Shines >>
BEARING THE BURDEN: Limited Brands Inc. had the second best comp gain versus expectations, its 6.3 point “surprise” to a 9 percent jump surpassed only by the 6.5 point outperformance of Zumiez Inc. and ahead of Saks Inc.’s 4.3 point elevation relative to estimates. Limited’s excellence in January was a bit one-sided, however, with Victoria’s Secret’s 17 percent gain offsetting declines of 3 and 8 percent, respectively, at the company’s Bath & Body Works and La Senza units.
WHAT TO WISH FOR: Just as retailers were reporting January results on Groundhog Day, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, supposedly translating into six more weeks of winter. Still, with temperatures hovering at ranges generally associated with April in much of the country, store officials seem more concerned about the arrival of winter weather than bothered by its persistence. Phil’s prognostication notwithstanding, the window of opportunity for outerwear and sweater sales is closing.
In honor of Rihanna’s 30th birthday, we took a look back at an interview with the Barbados-native when she was just 18 years old. Here, she talked about her second album, “A Girl Like Me” in 2006. “I want to be me. I want people to fall in love with who Rihanna is, and that’s why I want the album to be about me so people can really find out who this girl Rihanna is, because they only know the ‘Pon de Replay’ girl.” Fast forward 12 years, and she’s released six more albums and has become a powerhouse in both the fashion and music industries. Happy birthday, @badgalriri 🎈(📷: Pavel Antonov) #wwdarchive
For @simonerocha_‘s fall show, hairstylist @jamespecis created a look inspired by the painter John Constable. Models’ hair was pulled back, tied into knots and topped off with a bow. (📷: @kukukuba) #wwdbeauty #lfw
Queen Elizabeth made a surprise appearance at @richardquinn1's London Fashion Week show to present the designer with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. The new award will be handed out annually to an emerging British fashion designer who shows exceptional talent, while demonstrating value to the community and sustainable policies. #wwdfashion #lfw (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)