Investors pushed retail shares down 2.3 percent Wednesday as they girded for signs of continued weakness ahead of January comparable-store sales reports today and fourth-quarter earnings reports next month.
The Standard & Poor’s Retail Index fell 6.22 points to 261.48, dropping further than the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which again fell below 8,000, sliding 1.5 percent, or 121.70 points, to 7,956.66.
Early January comp reports from Neiman Marcus Inc., which on Tuesday reported a 22.4 percent decline, and Costco Wholesale Corp., which posted a 2 percent drop Wednesday, highlighted the breadth of the consumer slowdown. Both companies said price promotions to move goods were depleting profit margins.
After the market closed, Zumiez Inc. said comp sales fell 14.8 percent last month, as Hot Topic Inc. managed a 6 percent rise. Citi Trends Inc. said comps fell 1.9 percent for the fourth quarter.
While Washington is cooking up stimulus plans, it might be hard to restart consumer spending.
“The deleveraging of debt is simply too large of an overlay for a meaningful jump start to consumer spending,” said Jennifer Black, equity analyst and president of Jennifer Black & Associates. “A good outcome is a consumer that still has the means to make necessary and discretionary purchases. This will be by no means a simple task.”
Shares of broadline retailers losing ground Wednesday included J.C. Penney Co. Inc., down 7.1 percent to $15.42; Costco Wholesale Corp., 6.8 percent to $42.98; Macy’s Inc., 5.8 percent to $8.32; Nordstrom Inc., 5.4 percent to $12.47; Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 2.9 percent to $46.42, and Target Corp., 2.4 percent to $31.34.
Specialty store decliners included Chico’s FAS Inc., off 12.8 percent to $3.42; The Talbots Inc., 11.7 percent to $2.11; Christopher & Banks Corp., 11 percent to $4.12; Caché Inc., 8.4 percent to $1.86; New York & Company Inc., 7.5 percent to $1.98; Gap Inc., 7 percent to $10.65; Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., 6.5 percent to $1.16; Citi Trends, 6.4 percent to $9.90, and AnnTaylor Stores Corp., 4.7 percent to $4.84.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion