With America’s election fever starting to cool today, retail’s financial set is getting down to business.
But business has just been OK.
Macy’s Inc. kicked off off what’s generally expected to be a blah third-quarter earnings season on a solid note today. The company outperformed expectations and posted a 4.3 percent rise in earnings. Profits rose to $145 million, or 36 cents a diluted share, from $139 million, or 32 cents, a year earlier.Wall Street expected the company’s earnings per share to fall to 29 cents.
Macy’s is generally seen as one of the winners in a retail landscape where the gulf between the leaders and the laggards is widening as consumers pick and choose their purchases carefully.
“There are a few things that are good for the consumer, confidence is improving, but it’s not off to the races,” said Marie Driscoll, a retail consultant. “We’re going to see modest opportunity for margin expansion on lower input costs [such as cotton], but top line, not so strong. It’s pretty promotional out there.”
Retail continues to be a market-share war.
“Gap has done well and Macy’s has done well, but meanwhile, J.C. Penney’s is just giving away share,” Driscoll noted. “In the aggregate, I don’t think [the overall landscape] is that great.”
As quarterly results roll out over the next two weeks, it will become clear who is gaining the most traction with shoppers.
Wall Street and retail stocks both gained ground Tuesday as Americans headed to the polls to vote on who will lead the country for the next four years.
Among the gainers were companies set to release results soon, including Gap Inc., up 1.6 percent to $35.94; Nordstrom Inc., 1 percent to $58.20; J.C. Penney Co. Inc., 0.8 percent to $23.53, and Macy’s, 0.5 percent to $41.38.
Gap has been on a tear lately, after a prolonged slump. Analysts project the firm’s third-quarter earnings per share jumped 60.5 percent to 61 cents. Nordstrom is also gaining ground, with earnings expected to rise 22 percent to 72 cents a share.
On the other end of the spectrum, Penney’s, which is revamping as a specialty department store, is expected to post quarterly losses of 5 cents a share, down from earnings of 11 cents a year earlier.
Results exclude special items such as restructuring charges and represent the current analyst consensus estimates reported by Yahoo Finance.
Matthew Boss, a broadlines retail analyst at J.P. Morgan, said there aren’t likely to be any big third-quarter surprises and that there was a quiet confidence building about the holiday season.
“Inventories as a whole are more or less in line and clean in the channel and that could be a positive for margins in the fourth quarter,” Boss said.
Arnold Aronson, managing director of retail strategies at Kurt Salmon, said retailers overall have held up pretty well considering the still-high rate of unemployment, volatile gasoline prices and political gridlock.
Aronson said there would be a chance for consumers to refocus after the election.
“We’re still a consumptive society,” he said. “There are a lot of people who might feel they have deprived themselves. The talk will be, ‘What are you shopping for?’ and ‘What’s the hottest?’ and ‘Who has the best prices?’ The conditions are going to be slowly but steadily improving.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast