WASHINGTON — Sales at specialty stores increased 0.2 percent in July from the previous month, while department store volume grew 0.1 percent, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.
Compared with July 2007, specialty store sales advanced 0.9 percent to $19.13 billion, but those at department stores fell 2.1 percent to $17.2 billion.
Sales for all retail and food service providers dipped 0.1 percent in July compared with the previous month, the worst results since February. The Commerce Department said total retail sales in July were 2.6 percent higher than a year earlier. Analysts said results were largely in line with expectations. June sales were revised upward to a 0.3 percent increase from initial reports of a 0.1 percent gain.
Results were weak when individual retailers reported their same-store sales last Thursday, with many missing expectations or reporting declining numbers.
July continued to benefit from the residual effects of the last round of federal economic stimulus checks, but the effect is starting to slow down and probably won’t help results moving forward, economists said.
“The consumer is running out of steam,” said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at Global Insight. “There is some boost to the level of spending still in place from the stimulus checks, which probably helped to offset the drag from the very high gasoline prices in July.”
Looking ahead to August, gas prices have come down a little, but the stimulus checks ended, which could mean lackluster back-to-school spending. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. gave soft guidance for the month, despite doing better than many other retailers recently, which could bode ill for the overall outlook, Gault said.
Retailers did their best to protect margins as they faced a difficult consumer market combined with rising costs in the last several months, said Charles McMillion, president and chief economist at MBG Information Services.
Transportation and energy costs in particular have risen, and employee compensation costs have also increased, he said.
“For apparel, it’s been really tight,” he said. “If we’re not in a recession we’re very close, and that’s never a good time for retail.”
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