Retail stocks pushed ahead Thursday, rising 1.4 percent and establishing a new high for the year despite continued concerns about consumer spending.
The S&P Retail Index shot up to 359.42 early Thursday, but couldn’t sustain all the gains through the afternoon and closed ahead 4.72 points at 354.10. Retail shares have been testing levels not seen since early October, when the financial crisis was at full boil.
Stocks were supported by a smaller-than-expected increase in jobless claims, helping the Dow Jones Industrial Average rise 0.9 percent, or 83.74 points, to 9,154.46. The Labor Department reported 584,000 new jobless claims last week, an increase of 25,000. The four-week moving average for initial claims fell by 8,250.
“A more frugal, value-conscious consumer could keep pressure on retailers’ sales, which will mean that the long-awaited acceleration in top-line growth is still not yet at hand,” said Bill Dreher Jr., a broadlines equity analyst at Deutsche Bank.
Dreher predicted some back-to-school sales will shift into August at the expense of July given a later Labor Day this year and changes in the timing of tax-free shopping days.
Second-quarter results from Saks Inc., Macy’s Inc., J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Kohl’s Corp should be helped by stronger gross margins and cost reductions, the analyst said.
Posting stock gains on Thursday were Zale Corp., up 14.6 percent to $5.58; Coldwater Creek Inc., 8.1 percent to $7.17; New York & Company Inc., 6.9 percent to $3.57; Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., 5.8 percent to $3.31; AnnTaylor Stores Corp., 5.6 percent to $11.82; Destination Maternity Corp., 4.6 percent to $22.16; Tiffany & Co., 2.6 percent to $29.74; Macy’s Inc., 2.5 percent to $13.61; J.C. Penney Co. Inc., 1.4 percent to $29.46; The TJX Cos. Inc., 0.7 percent to $36.62, and Saks Inc., 0.6 percent to $5.23.
Kohl’s Corp. headed the other way, dipping 0.2 percent to $49.40.
After the market closed, off-price giant TJX got a vote of confidence from Moody’s Investors Service, which switched its ratings outlook on $775 million of the firm’s debt to “stable” from “negative.” The firm’s senior unsecured rating of “A3” and its commercial paper rating of “Prime-2” were affirmed.
“The change in outlook to stable from negative acknowledges TJX’s stable operating performance and credit metrics within the challenging economic environment,” said the debt watchdog. “In addition, the change in outlook reflects Moody’s opinion that TJX will continue to generate solid operating results despite ongoing recessionary pressures facing the retail industry.”
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
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye