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.
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