Compared with the din of Black Friday, this month's retail traffic simmered down, but retailers still aren't pushing the panic button.
"It started out slower," said one Eastern department store principal, referring to last weekend.
Most apparel has been tanking, though contemporary sportswear as well as accessories, shoes, coats, cold-weather accessories, dresses and men's furnishings are selling, according to retailers contacted Monday.
Typically, there's a decline in mall traffic right after the brouhaha of Black Friday weekend. This year was no exception. "There has been a lull, but I don't think it's any more pronounced than last year," said the store principal. "Consumers have indicated they will take a breather. They know there is an extra day and a half in the calender and will scale back in the early weeks of December, but I still believe they will come out in the last few weeks leading up to Christmas. It will be a good season, not a great one."
Last week, major chains were buoyed by price promoting; colder weather and pent-up demand for coats, hats, gloves and scarves; flat-screen TVs and video game consoles; tourism in New York and other vacation destinations such as Las Vegas and south Florida, and the Internet. While brick-and-mortar stores are in a lull, "It's quite the opposite online," said Andrew Lipsman, senior analyst at comScore Inc. "Online spending continues to build over the next few weeks and peaks in mid-December," around the 13th.
The pattern is a function of shipping and receiving dates for gifts to arrive in time for the holiday and when free shipping is offered. "It's fair to say [the Internet] has some mitigating impact on retailers overall" this time of year, Lipsman added. "But I don't know how much.
"Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the busiest in terms of ordering," he said, explaining that people order a lot online while at work and tend to spend more hours in the office from Monday to Wednesday, as opposed to Thursday and Friday.
"We had a strong and very encouraging week," said Michael Gould, Bloomingdale's chairman and chief executive officer."Coats, cold-weather categories and jewelry are leading the charge," said Jane Elfers, president and ceo of Lord & Taylor. She also cited Uggs, special occasion and cocktail party dresses as among the best-selling categories.
While places such as Miami and Aventura saw good mall traffic, retailers pointed out the rest of Florida was difficult. That was true of much of California, as well, aside from affluent areas like Rodeo Drive, and South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.
At Abercrombie & Fitch, "We are continuing to sell merchandise at full price, which is contrary to what we are seeing at our competition in the malls," said Tom Lennox, vice president of communications.
However, one major specialty chain reported that last week was flattish, pulled down by a disappointing Saturday, which can be a huge volume day, twice as big as preceding days of the week. "Nobody knows what's going to happen in December," said one executive at the company, who requested anonymity.
Despite gloomy economic forecasts predicting decelerating consumer spending, major chains on Thursday are expected to post decent sales results for last month, fueling some hope for the holiday season.
"We are expecting a 2.9 percent comp in November [slightly above consensus], inflated by an estimated 1 percent due to a calendar shift that some large retailers such as Target and J.C. Penney do not adjust for," Todd Slater, managing director and specialty retail, apparel and footwear analyst at Lazard Capital Markets, said in a report Monday. "On an adjusted basis, we estimate the comp trend would have been about +1.9 percent, better than October [up 1.2 percent] and September [up 0.9 percent].
"The outperformers are expected to be the value group [+3.5 percent] and luxury retailers [+5.5 percent], illustrating that consumers are trading down to value, discretionary purchases continue to take a backseat to consumables and the high end of the market is more immune."
Analysts cited Saks Fifth Avenue, Apple and Target for having comps that stand out favorably.
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