WASHINGTON — Consumers appeared to be in the mood for buying apparel and accessories in June, boosting sales in the specialty store category last month, but they pulled back from purchases at department stores, according to the monthly retail sales report released by the Commerce Department on Monday.
Sales at apparel and accessories stores rose a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent last month to $21 billion, while sales at department stores fell 1 percent to $14.5 billion. General merchandise stores, a category that includes discounters and department stores, saw sales edge up 0.1 percent to $55 billion in June.
On a year-over-year basis, specialty store sales were 4.8 percent higher than in June 2012, while sales at general merchandise stores were up 1.1 percent. Sales at department stores slipped 5.1 percent compared with a year earlier.
“This particular report is a little disappointing and below economists’ expectations,” said Bill Lynch, vice president and director of investments at Hinsdale Associates. “When the consumer credit report came out in May, it actually showed a fairly large increase, and it seemed liked it signaled an upturn in consumer spending.”
Lynch said rising gasoline prices might have played a role in the dip in department store numbers.
Within the department store category, Macy’s has been the “star,” while Kohl’s has been “doing OK,” Lynch said. He added that the “struggling” J.C. Penney is still trying to turn around its business.
“I think consumers are still in the mind-set they want a bargain,” Lynch said. “They want quality merchandise, and they don’t want to pay as much for it. Certainly stores like Target fit that description as well as Costco and Wal-Mart.”
In the overall economy, retail sales rose 0.4 percent to $422.8 billion, driven primarily by auto and gas sales.
“Looking ahead, we expect real consumer spending to increase at a 1.9 percent rate for 2013, and then pick up at a faster rate in 2014,” Christopher said. “The back-to-school season is about to start heating up, and these recent numbers do not bode well for many retailers,” said Chris J. Christopher Jr., director of consumer economics at IHS Global Insight.
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