Retail stocks slid 0.5 percent Wednesday, limping into the final trading session of a year that, at least on Wall Street, marked a dramatic revival for the sector.
The S&P Retail Index fell 2.21 points to 416.27 Wednesday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped just 3.10 points, less than 0.1 percent, to 10,548.51. With one day left, retail stocks rebounded 49.1 percent in 2009, outstripping the Dow’s 20.2 percent rally. After a turbulent and crisis-pocked 2008, equities benefited from the stabilization of credit markets, the rightingof the banking sector, the return of GDP growth and a general feeling that a second Great Depression had been averted.
Holiday sales, although up against an extremely weak season last year, appeared to lend credence to the notion that retailers are beginning to show signs of life, if not the actual bounceback their stocks have seen. According to MasterCard Advisors, retail sales for Nov. 1 through Dec. 24 rose 3.6 percent, a 1 percent increase after adjusting for calendar shifts.
But the downturn and the attendant changes in consumer psychology do seem to have reset the terms of the staring contest between stores and thrifty shoppers.
“Throughout the past year, consumers have shopped closer and closer to need or event, and [the] Christmas season 2009 was no different,” said Deutsche Bank broadline analyst Bill Dreher Jr. in a research note. “The weaker-than-expected November sales now appear to have been a false negative on the holiday season, as consumers waited until December and even the final week before Christmas to purchase gifts.”
And retailers seem to have prevailed.
Dreher said consumers were likely looking for better deals as Christmas approached but found that stores, which have been laser-focused on controlling inventories and costs this year, were able to avoid severe markdowns to move goods.
“In fact, consumers ran greater-than-usual risk of out-of-stocks, particularly of popular items-sizes,” he said. “The combination of better-than-expected sales and aligned inventories should drive healthy margins.”
Among the retail stocks on the wane Wednesday were Dillard’s Inc., 4.5 percent to $18.97; AnnTaylor Stores Corp., 3.5 percent to $13.81; Macy’s Inc., 2.4 percent to $17.22; Saks Inc., 1.7 percent to $6.79, and The Men’s Wearhouse Inc., 1.5 percent to $21.38.
In Europe, the FTSE 100 in London dropped 0.7 percent to 5,397.85 while the CAC 40 was off 0.6 percent to 3,935.50 in Paris. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index managed a 0.1 percent rise to 21,496.62 while, in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 was off 0.9 percent to 10,546.44.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)