WASHINGTON — Retail apparel sales increased across the board in June after two months of declines. The rise came as sales of all goods and services in the U.S. economy fell for the second month.
Clothing and accessories store sales were up 0.6 percent to $18.2 billion compared with a month earlier, and department store receipts climbed 1.1 percent to $15.6 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department said Wednesday. Sales at general merchandise stores, which include discounters such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc., as well as department stores, rose 0.2 percent to $50.4 billion compared with May.
In yearly comparisons, specialty store sales advanced 5.7 percent, but department store receipts fell 0.3 percent. General merchandise store sales rose 2.6 percent.
In the overall economy, sales of all goods and services dropped 0.5 percent in June to $360.2 billion, driven in large part by a big drop in auto and gasoline sales. Many economists said it is another indication that the recovery could be slow in the second half. Compared with a year earlier, overall retail sales rose 4.8 percent.
“Cutting through all of the special factors [that affected auto sales and building materials sales negatively], the core clothing segment seems not to be doing that badly,” said Brian Bethune, chief financial economist with HIS Global Insight. “Clothing and e-tailing are holding up surprisingly well under the circumstances.”
Bethune noted consumers are still being cautious in their spending.
“I don’t think there is any mad money out there,” he said. “I think consumers are more necessity driven and to get them to make a big purchase like cars or appliances, they need to think they are getting a steal.”
Scott Hoyt, senior director of consumer economists with Moody’s Economy.com, said: “Broadly speaking, retail sales are not as bad as they look and sales at department stores and apparel stores are not as good as they look. The hot weather was a fairly strong support to sales at department stores and apparel specialty stores. So there was weather-related strength there that won’t be sustained going forward.”
As for the strength in year-over-year apparel retail sales, particularly in the specialty store segment, Hoyt said it would be a “mistake” to read too much into the 5.7 percent increase in June.
“A lot of movement we are seeing in year-over-year really has to do with how bad last year was, more than how strong this year is,” he said.
The overall decline in retail sales helped push the S&P Retail Index down 0.8 percent, or 3.09 points, to 401.08 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average tiptoed up 3.7 points to 10,366.72.
Retail decliners included Casual Male Retail Group Inc., down 3 percent to $3.51; J. Crew Group, 2.3 percent to $35.55; Urban Outfitters Inc., 1.9 percent to $33.26, and Gap Inc., 1.4 percent to $18.62.
In Asia, the Nikkei 225 shot up 2.7 percent to 9,795.24 in Tokyo and the Hang Seng Index inched up 0.6 percent to 20,560.81 in Hong Kong. European investors were less bullish and sent the CAC 40 down 0.1 percent to 3,632.98 in Paris and the FTSE 100 down 0.3 percent to 5,253.52 in London.
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
"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