LATE RISERS: Thursday’s same-store sales reporting ritual had more than a little in common with the month it covered — slow at the start with a pickup at the end. The Wet Seal Inc. and Cato Corp., who’d wind up with the weakest performances of the month (down 9.7 and 7 percent, respectively), filed early in the morning while the better numbers — Nordstrom Inc. and Gap Inc.’s stronger-than-expected respective increases of 8.6 and 5 percent — came as the last data trickled in, along with upside surprises from Kohl’s Corp., Stein Mart Inc. and off-price titans The TJX Cos. and Ross Stores Inc. RELATED STORY: Holiday's Aftermath, Squeeze on Profits >>
THE EXPECTATIONS GAME: Earlier estimates from Thomson Reuters called for a modest 2 percent median increase in reporting stores’ same-store sales, but that number was lowered to 1.7 percent Wednesday as more analysts filed their numbers and others lowered previously issued approximations. The final average for the month was 2.3 percent and, excluding drugstores, rose to 4.5 percent, 1.2 points better than anticipated. Promotional and based on a shrinking sample, to be sure, but far better than November’s 1.6 percent advance, which was hampered by Hurricane Sandy.
VALUE VICTORS: Tempting prices delivered the dollars to fashion merchants late in the month, but it was the stores that live and die by price every day that posted the best numbers overall. In addition to Nordstrom’s solid performance, the largest increases came from Costco Wholesale Corp. (8 percent excluding fuel sales), TJX and Ross (both up 6 percent) and Stein Mart Inc. (up 5.9 percent).
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