Retail stocks dozed Thursday, slipping fractionally despite an unexpected but welcome decline in first-time jobless claims and a bit of action on the rumor mill, which continues to produce tales — tall or not — of pending private equity takeovers.
The S&P Retail Index fell 0.18 points, less than 0.1 percent, to 467.33 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 12.33 points, or 0.1 percent, to 11,113.95. The Labor Department said initial jobless claims declined by 21,000 last week to 434,000, while economists were looking for claims to remain steady.
Despite word in the London Evening Standard that KKR and The Carlyle Group were mulling an offer of $34 a share for Macy’s Inc., the company’s stock gained just 1.1 percent to $23.29. Such rumors have been rampant over the last couple of months as private equity money, available financing, cheap retail stocks and expected tax changes have combined for an intoxicating financial brew.
But with an enterprise value of $16.6 billion, Macy’s is seen as a pretty big fish to reel in even for private equity powerhouses like KKR and Carlyle. Still, there’s a nagging sense, on the parts of both investors and bankers, that just about anything might happen.
• Ann’s Outlet Extension: AnnTaylor Stores Corp. is accelerating its outlet strategy, particularly for the Loft division, by grabbing former Liz Claiborne locations. About 35 Loft outlets and five Ann Taylor Factory Stores will open during the second quarter of fiscal 2011 at outlet centers across the U.S. About $75 million in incremental fiscal 2011 revenue should be generated by the maneuver, which will be accretive to fiscal 2011 earnings and create about 1,000 jobs. Capital expenditures associated with the plan are seen at around $25 million in fiscal 2011. The company also said there are no direct costs from transferring the locations from Claiborne to Ann Taylor, which currently operates about 92 Ann Taylor outlets and 18 Loft outlets.
• Frederick’s Splits With Movie Star: Frederick’s of Hollywood Group Inc. sold its Movie Star wholesale division to Dolce Vita Intimates Thursday, completing a strategic review of the division that lasted just over a month. According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the purchase price was about $4.5 million, including about $2.7 million for inventory, and is subject to adjustment.
“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