The Federal Reserve caught a bit of the European debt jitters — noting that developments abroad have made financial conditions “less supportive” of growth — but investors Wednesday looked past the assessment, which simply underlined the general sentiment that already had depressed markets.
The S&P Retail Index inched up 0.2 percent, or 0.92 points, to 416.74 Wednesday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average increased just 4.92 points to 10,298.44. Retail gainers included Bebe Stores Inc., up 4.7 percent to $6.63; The Men’s Wearhouse Inc., 3.3 percent to $19.53; Chico’s FAS Inc., 3.1 percent to $10.92, and Aéropostale Inc., 1.8 percent to $29.88.
The Fed’s open market committee, led by chairman Ben Bernanke, reiterated that interest rates would be kept “exceptionally low” for “an extended period.” “Household spending is increasing but remains constrained by high unemployment, modest income growth, lower housing wealth and tight credit,” the committee said.
“Financial conditions have become less supportive of economic growth on balance, largely reflecting developments abroad,” the committee said.
Although that was a reference to the debt crisis that started in Greece and has cast a shadow over Europe, retail investors have been thinking along the same lines this week. They have been casting their eyes more toward China, where policy makers indicated they might allow the yuan to begin appreciating, making it more expensive for Western firms to buy Chinese-made goods.
“While we believe some type of increase in apparel prices is inevitable, especially in 2011, we are not as worried as many investors appear to be,” said Eric Beder, analyst at Brean Murray, Carret & Co.
Beder said apparel is relatively inexpensive after years of deflation, and consumers would accept higher prices for strong fashions.
“Clothing is not milk, an everyday purchase of an undifferentiated item that leads to almost immediate notice when prices change,” Beder said. “Natural shifts in trends — i.e., from clean denim to distressed denim looks — bring price increases.”
Global stock markets generally pulled back on Wednesday.
The CAC 40 fell 1.7 percent to 3,641.79 in Paris, as the FTSE 100 dropped 1.3 percent to 5,178.52 in London and the DAX slipped 1 percent to 6,204.52 in Frankfurt.
The Nikkei 225 fell 1.9 percent to 9,923.70 in Tokyo as the SSE Composite Index dipped 0.7 percent to 2,569.87 in Shanghai and the Hang Seng Index ticked up 0.2 percent to 20,856.61 in Hong Kong.
• Faranda Joins Movado: Joe Faranda, former chief marketing officer of International Flavors & Fragrances, has joined Movado Group Inc. in the new post of senior vice president of consumer insights and strategic planning for the Movado and ESQ by Movado brands. Faranda, who reports to Efraim Grinberg, chairman and chief executive officer of Movado, spent 17 years with Avon Products Inc. in positions including vice president of marketing research. His responsibilities at Movado include the development and oversight of strategic plans for the two brands, monitoring market trends and supervising consumer insight programs.
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye