Retail stocks fell 1.6 percent Monday, giving back some of Friday’s gains as investors looked ahead to several fresh readings on the consumer this week.
The S&P Retail Index slid 5.69 points to 360.66.
Retail stocks shot ahead 2.2 percent Friday after Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said economic activity seemed to be stabilizing and that “the prospects for a return to growth in the near term appear good.”
Much still depends on consumers, who make up two-thirds of the economy and have yet to find solid footing with continued weakness in the job market.
The broader stock market began Monday on the upswing as traders took their cue from investors in Europe and Asia, but the rally began to fail in the afternoon and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended nearly flat, with a 3.32-point gain to 9,509.28.
Internationally, the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo rose 3.4 percent and the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong increased 1.7 percent prior to the CAC 40’s 1 percent advance in Paris and the FTSE 100’s 0.9 percent gain in London.
Even if consumers are still relatively down in the dumps, sentiment among economists seems to be improving.
IHS Global Insight economists Nariman Behravesh and Sara Johnson said Monday, “The longest and deepest recession of the postwar era has ended, and a new global expansion is beginning in the third quarter.”
The pair said global gross domestic product would fall 2.3 percent this year and then rise 2.4 percent in 2010 and 3.4 percent in 2011.
But shoppers have to do their part for these predictions to pan out.
“A sustained, robust global recovery depends on renewed growth in consumer spending and capital investment,” Behravesh and Johnson said. “The coming expansion will be restrained by cautious consumers in the United States and Europe, who are saving to rebuild depleted assets and reduce debt burdens. China, India, Brazil and other emerging markets will fill some, but not all, of the void.”
For those reading the economic tea leaves, this will be a busy week with The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index out today and reports on new home sales, GDP and personal income, consumption and prices due later this week.
On average, economists predict the still-depressed confidence index will have inched up to 47.6 this month from 46.6 last month.
Among the retail decliners Monday were Sears Holdings Corp., down 3.2 percent to $63.94; American Eagle Outfitters Inc., 2.8 percent to $14.26; Charming Shoppes Inc., 2.5 percent to $5.57; Tween Brands Inc., 2.1 percent to $7.33, and Target Corp., 1.1 percent to $45.17.
Topping the list of 174 stocks tracked by WWD was Charlotte Russe Holding Inc., which climbed 25.9 percent to $17.36 after the company agreed to be bought out by private equity firm Advent International Corp.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast