Consumers took a furlough from shopping during the U.S. government’s 16-day shutdown.
Figures from retail traffic counter ShopperTrak revealed a 7.5 percent decline in foot traffic from prior-year levels during the seven days beginning Sept. 29, two days before the inability of Congress to pass a budget led to the first government shutdown in 17 years.
The drop in shopping activity was somewhat less marked during the second week of the partial closure of the government, with foot traffic down 7.1 percent in the week ended Oct. 12. The year-over-year decline in the Washington market, home to many of the approximately 800,000 federal employees furloughed during the shutdown, stretched to double digits, with traffic off about 11.4 percent in the area during the second week of the month.
Anticipation of the shutdown appears to have contributed to weak consumer demand in the weeks preceding the shutdown as well. Traffic was off 4.7 percent during the week ended Sept. 21 and down 5 percent in the week ended Sept. 28.
Shopper counts historically have fallen in the weeks after Labor Day, but ShopperTrak anticipated a bit of a pick-up in the run-up to Halloween and with the arrival of cooler weather.
Bill Martin, founder of Chicago-based ShopperTrak, noted that the agreement to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling, reached late Wednesday, “holds promise for a resurgence in shopper activity. However, we expect that it will take some time and revised strategy for retailers to recover from the impact the government shutdown had on sales and store traffic.”
ShopperTrak in September forecast sales growth of 2.4 percent during the November-December holiday selling period despite an anticipated 1.4 percent decline in traffic.
In addition to weak demand, retailers will be pressured by a short selling season between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and an early start for Hanukkah on Nov. 27, the day before Thanksgiving.
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
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion