The sector might be far from its November 2008 nadir, when retail stocks could be had for a song, and the S&P Retail Index might now be up 14.2 percent for the year, but some deep-pocketed investors have decided that the time is right to put some serious money to work. They might think that the recovery, as slow and jittery as it’s been, finally seems real enough to start betting on the consumer again — or at least dig in and push their new holdings to rework operations.
Last week, Italian business tycoon Diego Della Valle became Saks Inc.’s biggest stockholder, boosting his share of the retailer to 19.1 percent while noting he could seek board representation. Earlier this month, activist investor William Ackman, of Pershing Square Capital Management, and Vornado Realty Trust together snatched up 26.4 percent of J.C. Penney Co. Inc. They are expected to pressure the midline retailer to revamp operations.
Saks’ stock shot up 9 percent last week to $10.73, while Penney’s gave back some of its Ackman-related gain and slipped 3.9 percent to $32.55. Penney’s also instituted a poison pill that makes it virtually impossible to take over the company without the board’s approval.
The S&P Retail Index inched up 0.5 percent for the week to 469.37 and, with its double-digit increase for the year, is 126 percent above its recession low.
The week wasn’t kind to two misses’ retailers struggling to get their merchandising right. Of the 171 issues tracked by WWD, none fell further than Coldwater Creek Inc., down 36.3 percent for the week to $3.48, after disclosing Monday that it expected a loss of 14 cents to 19 cents a share in the third quarter versus earlier expectations of a small profit. It’s also expecting a drop of between 18 percent and 21 percent in its same-store sales.
The third-largest decline for the week was from Christopher & Banks Corp., which said Tuesday that Lorna Nagler had resigned as president and chief executive officer “to pursue other interests.” It reported a larger second-quarter loss than analysts expected on Sept. 30 as a weak fall assortment led to higher promotional levels and pressure on its gross margins.
All told, 63 of the stocks followed by WWD were ahead for the week, while 106 lost ground and two were flat.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6 percent for the week, ending at 11,132.56. Before rebounding late in the week, blue-chip stocks closed below 11,000 on Tuesday on worries that higher interest rates in China could hurt the global recovery.
European markets rose for the week, with the DAX up 1.8 percent in Frankfurt, the CAC 40 ahead 1.1 percent in Paris and the FTSE 100 advancing 0.7 percent in London.
Asian markets headed down, with the Hang Seng Index falling 1 percent in Hong Kong and the Nikkei 225 slipping 0.8 percent in Tokyo.
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
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