The credit markets are showing some signs of health, but the stock market remains schizophrenic and, for retailers, mostly depressed.
The Standard & Poor’s Retail Index initially fell hard on Thursday only to claw its way back, closing down 1.5 percent, or 3.85 points, to 256.40, even as the Dow Jones Industrial Average staged a late rally to close up 172 points, or 2 percent, to 8,691.25.
Retail shares dropped as much as 6.8 percent during the trading session as investors continued to guess at the impact of the financial crisis and economic slowdown on shoppers and retailers.
Several fashion companies have lost more than 75 percent of their share value since hitting their respective 52-week highs, including The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., down 90.6 percent; Charming Shoppes Inc., 84.9 percent; Dillard’s Inc., 83.3 percent; Chico’s FAS Inc., 79.5 percent; Gottschalks Inc., 78.3 percent; New York & Company Inc., 77.9 percent; Liz Claiborne Inc., 76.4 percent; Stein Mart Inc., 76 percent, and Saks Inc., 75.4 percent.
The holiday season is forecast to be the worst in years and investors and store executives appear to be settling in for difficulties.
“A lot of this is just simply consumer sensitivity to pricing,” Bill Rhodes, chief investment strategist at Rhodes Analytics, said. “They are concerned about their incomes. They’re concerned about their work. They probably are not getting the kinds of credit card offers that they were before, in many cases they have to pay [their credit cards] down.”
Rhodes said his models call for an “underweight” position on apparel retailers, but added there was no clear evidence where the markets are headed, especially since the troubles have moved from Wall Street to the broader economy.
Among retail issues on Thursday, Dillard’s declined 22.7 percent to $3.92. The regional department store player was removed from the S&P 500 index on Tuesday, compelling some investment funds that are focused on the index to sell their holdings.
Others on the way down were: Bon-Ton, declining 15 percent to $1.70; Kohl’s Corp., 6.6 percent to $28.26; Sears Holdings Corp., 6.4 percent to $49.98; J.C. Penney Co. Inc., 4 percent to $19.50; Saks 1.9 percent to $5.68, and Stein Mart, 1.5 percent to $1.92. Gottschalks managed to rise 5.4 percent to 97 cents.
Specialty stores losing ground included Charming Shoppes, down 16.7 percent to $1.15; J. Crew Group Inc., 8 percent to $16.71; Urban Outfitters Inc., 7.8 percent to $20.12; Limited Brands Inc., 7.4 percent to $10.89; New York & Co., 7.3 percent to $2.68; Aéropostale Inc., 6.6 percent to $21.85, and Chico’s, 1.1 percent to $2.84.
On the vendor side, G-III Apparel Group Ltd. got a vote of confidence from Eric Beder, Brean Murray Carret & Co. analyst, but the stock still closed down 9 percent to $14.44.
“The company is a key supplier to major department stores with Macy’s remaining its largest buyer; J.C. Penney is also a key resource,” said Beder, who reiterated his “buy” rating on the stock. “You would expect G-III management to bemoan its fate. Instead, it is very upbeat.”
And so is Beder, who said the outerwear and sportswear producer is linked to good brands, including Guess, Calvin Klein, Sean John and Kenneth Cole, has been conservative with inventory, and is gaining traction in the dress category.
Other vendors stumbling in the markets were: Liz Claiborne, down 10.4 percent to $7.30; Jones Apparel Group Inc., 7.2 percent to $8.64; Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., 5 percent to $22.99, and Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., 3.7 percent to $42.39.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)