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.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty