Retail stocks marched ahead 2.3 percent Wednesday, hitting another new high for the year as investors caught a glimmer of better times ahead, even if economists say they’re still relatively far off.
The S&P Retail Index rose as high as 382.39 Wednesday — a level not seen since last September — but settled for an 8.69-point rise to 382.32. After three consecutive advances last week, the index has alternated between down and up days for the last four sessions. Still, it is up more than 150 points and 67.1 percent from its 2009 nadir on March 6.
All major U.S. indices rose Wednesday, but none more than the retail sector. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 108.30 points, or 1.1 percent, to 9,791.71 while the S&P 500 picked up 16.13 points, or 1.5 percent, to 1,068.76. Overseas, the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong advanced 2.6 percent and the FTSE 100 in London and the CAC 40 in Paris each rose 1.6 percent.
Giving credence to the notion the economy is at least pointed in the right direction, the Federal Reserve said U.S. industrial production rose 0.8 percent in August from July, though it is still down 10.7 percent from a year ago. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday the recession is “very likely” over, but the job market would make it feel like a weak economy for some time.
Rajeev Dhawan, director of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University, said the industrial production number along with other recent indications of economic strength were “welcomed blips,” but that things wouldn’t really begin to turn until businesses start investing in technology and hiring picks back up.
“This is still the Nike swoosh economy,” said Dhawan, referring to a chart of economic growth that resembles the brand’s logo. “It’s still a slow climb.”
Even with tighter inventories, he said retailers are going to have appeal to shoppers’ pocketbook concerns this holiday season.
“If you don’t put up a nice discount sign, you’re not going to be able to sell it,” Dhawan said. “You have to make the consumer feel as if he or she is getting a great bargain.”
Among the retail gainers Wednesday were AnnTaylor Stores Corp., up 5.1 percent to $17.24; Abercrombie & Fitch Co., 4.8 percent to $33; Dillard’s Inc., 4.7 percent to $14.22; Saks Inc., 4.1 percent to $7.20; Nordstrom Inc., 3.3 percent to $31.45; Guess Inc., 3.2 percent to $37.10; Hot Topic Inc., 3.2 percent to $7.16, and Zale Corp., 3.1 percent to $7.99.
The vendors gaining steam included Polo Ralph Lauren Corp., ahead 6.9 percent to $74.43; Liz Claiborne Inc., 5.7 percent to $6.27; Nike Inc., 4.6 percent to $57.18, and Jones Apparel Group Inc., 3.4 percent to $18.82.
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
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye