Retail stocks inched higher on Wall Street today as the government said consumer spending ramped up sharply in the first quarter.
The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group gained 0.3 percent, or 2.26 points, to 789.94, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average 0.1percent, or 21.73 points, to 15,324.53.
The gainers included Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., up 2.7 percent to $65.68; Urban Outfitters Inc., 2.4 percent to $41.87, and Gap Inc., 1.6 percent to $39.99.
But the strongest stock in the fashion arenas was Express Inc., which shot up 12.8 percent to $21.20 after the retailer’s first-quarter earnings 38 cents a share topped analysts projections by 2 cents. “The direction the business is heading is positive,” said Michael Weiss, chairman and chief executive officer. “As we start the second quarter, momentum in the business is on the upswing, and conversion, which we often cite as a leading indicator of the business, has been building since relatively early in the first quarter.
Although many retailers have griped about an unusually cool spring, the macro reading of the economy suggests consumer spending is on the rise.
The Commerce Department said first-quarter gross domestic product rose at an annual rate of 2.4 percent in the first quarter — slightly slower than the 2.5 percent economists expected, but well ahead of the fourth quarter’s 0.4 percent rise.
Personal consumption expenditures shot up 3.4 percent in the first quarter from 1.8 percent in the fourth, showing that shoppers were out despite the weather.
In Europe, markets were the rebound after growth fears pressured stocks on Wednesday.
Frankfurt’s DAX rose 0.8 percent to 8,400.20 as Milan’s FTSE MIB gained 0.7 percent to 17,350.96, Paris’ CAC 40 increased 0.6 percent to 3,996.31 and London’s FTSE 100 grew 0.5 percent to 6,656.99.
The pound traded at $1.51 against the dollar, while the euro went for $1.31 and the Swiss franc fetched $1.07.
Retail and luxury stocks put on a mixed show, with the day’s biggest gainers including Asos.com, up 1.7 percent to 39.17 pounds; Safilo, 4 percent to 14.70 euros, and Marks & Spencer, 0.8 percent to 4.76 pounds.
Among the stocks losing ground were Yoox, down 2.4 percent to 15.67 euros; Burberry, 1.5 percent to 14.84 pounds, and Compagnie Financière Richemont, 1.4 percent to 86.65 Swiss francs.
“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
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
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