Retail stocks took a step back Wednesday, falling 0.8 percent on job market jitters, but the sector still managed to post a healthy gain for the first quarter.
The S&P Retail Index dropped 3.73 points to 449.79. The retail index is still relatively close to its 52-week high of 456.97 and the sector advanced 9.4 percent for the quarter. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.5 percent, or 50.79 points, to 10,856.63 for the day and was ahead 4.1 percent for the quarter.
U.S. markets headed down after investors who have been pinning their hopes for the recovery on improvement in the job market suffered at least a temporary letdown Wednesday.
Nonfarm private payrolls fell by a seasonally adjusted 23,000 from February to March, according to the ADP National Employment Report. Still, the decline was the smallest since the measure of the job market began to fall in February 2008.
Economists expect the Labor Department employment update on Friday to show a gain of 200,000 jobs. That report is expected to see some rebound from weather-related weakness in the job market in February as well as a boost from federal hiring for the 2010 Census.
Shareholders of The Talbots Inc. traded the firm’s stock down 2.6 percent to $12.96 after the company, for a third time, pushed back the deadline on a warrant exchange offer that’s required for its merger with BPW Acquisition Corp. to go through.
BPW investors were given until 6 p.m. Wednesday to exchange their warrants and the deadline passed without word from Talbots. As of the previous deadline on Tuesday, 87.4 percent of the warrants issued when BPW went public had been tendered, while 90 percent are needed for the merger to go forward. Last week, a group of hedge funds controlling 9 percent of the warrants tried to halt the exchange, but a Delaware court denied their request.
While men’s wear retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. led all stocks tracked by WWD with a 5.8 percent advance to $54.72 on Wednesday following better-than-expected fourth-quarter results, a number of the largest declines came from specialty stores catering to women. Among these were Limited Brands Inc., off 4.9 percent to $24.62; Bebe Stores Inc., 4.4 percent to $8.91; Charming Shoppes Inc., 3.5 percent to $5.46, and Caché Inc., 3.3 percent to $5.51. Charming Shoppes on Tuesday disclosed that it would close between 100 and 120 stores this year after finishing fiscal 2009 with a fourth-quarter loss that was smaller than analysts expected.
International markets were mostly on the way down for the day, with the Hang Seng Index sliding 0.6 percent to 21,239.35 in Hong Kong, the SSE Composite Index off 0.6 percent to 3,109.10 in Shanghai and the Nikkei 225 falling 0.1 percent to 11,089.94 in Tokyo. The CAC 40 dipped 0.3 percent to 3,974.01 in Paris, although the FTSE 100 ran countertrend, rising 0.1 percent to 5,679.64 in London.
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
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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