WASHINGTON — Retail sales were lackluster across the board last month, although sales showed some strength on a year-over-year basis, according to the Commerce Department’s report released Friday.
Retail sales at clothing and accessories stores fell 0.9 percent to $14.34 billion in September against August on a seasonally adjusted basis, but sales were up 7.3 percent when compared to September 2001. At general merchandise stores, sales last month dipped 0.1 percent to $38.31 billion for the month and gained 5.5 percent from year-ago reports.
Sales at department stores, excluding leased departments, fell 0.6 percent to $18.73 billion last month and dropped 1.9 percent from a year ago.
"The month-to-month numbers don’t look good, but the year-over-year numbers look OK," said Ira Kalish, chief economist at Retail Forward. "The surprise to me is the strength in clothing store sales year over year."
Kalish attributed the annual gains in sales to promotional activity and non-mall locations.
"Department store sales are still weak," he said. "That says to me people are still avoiding malls."
All retail sales fell 1.2 percent last month, but were up 5.8 percent against September 2001. Declining auto sales contributed to the overall monthly retail sales decrease.
"Unseasonable weather, a weakened economy and fear of war [with Iraq] have all had their fair share of negative impact on September retail sales," said Rosalind Wells, chief economist at the National Retail Federation.
However, she said the pent-up demand for apparel should boost retail sales in the fourth quarter and predicted a 4 percent growth in holiday sales.
Kalish wasn’t as bullish.
"Today, a much larger share of the population has a direct stake in the equity market than was the case in the recent past," Kalish said. "The dramatic decline in equity prices is making consumers feel less wealthy and you are going to see a lesser willingness to engage in discretionary spending."
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)