Max Azria isn’t anticipating a big bounce in the near term.
The chairman and founder of BCBG Max Azria Group Inc., who sat on a panel at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills on Monday, said he sees little reason for optimism in retail over the next year and is prepared for his business to be down 10 to 20 percent.
“We have to produce with much lower costs, have to save on everything, like advertising, without doing less,” said Azria, who shared the stage with Simon Property Group Inc. chief executive officer David Simon, Goldman Sachs retail analyst Adrianne Shapira, Staples Inc. president Michael Miles and GNC Corp. ceo Joe Fortunato. “We have to be realistic; we cannot manage business by looking at everything like it will come right back.”
Azria’s take was in line with most of his fellow panelists, with the exception of Simon, who had a more positive outlook on the resilience of his mall properties.
Despite the challenges, Azria said his company is positioned to cope with the economic downturn. “People will spend less, we’ll get through the next one to two years and that’s it,” he said.
On Tuesday, Standard & Poor’s boosted its corporate credit rating on Azria’s privately held company to “B-minus” from “SD” after the firm reshuffled its debt. A rating in the “B” category indicates the company has the capacity to meet its financial commitments. “SD” indicates a selective default. The outlook on the rating is negative.
BCBG recently borrowed money to repurchase debt at less than face value. S&P views this as “tantamount to default” but the move improved the firm’s credit profile. “They were able to purchase more debt than they took on to purchase it, so they are, in essence, less leveraged,” said Jackie Oberoi, debt analyst at the rating agency.
BCBG has estimated debt of $516 million, a reduction of about $21 million from two debt buybacks, according to S&P.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
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