In face of bearish Christmas forecasts, The Macerich Co. has developed a contrarian point of view on the holiday season.
A Macerich survey completed by 42 retailers and released exclusively to WWD estimates that total sales will rise an average of 9 percent for the fourth quarter. For the year, the retailers on average expect an 8.8 percent gain. Those forecasts are about twice as high as what some analysts have been suggesting.
"A year and a half ago, there was a real focus on rising oil prices; now it's consumer confidence," said Ken Gillett, senior vice president of property management for the shopping center developer and owner Macerich, based in Santa Monica, Calif. "Even the perception of problems in the economic arena can impact people's confidence and their spending.
"But overall, it appears retailers are optimistic about sales for this holiday season, and quite frankly, it's a different point of view from what we've seen publicized."
The survey was conducted this month and tapped a wide range of retailers, including Burberry, Coach, Godiva, Lacoste, Sephora, Tiffany, Pacific Sunwear, Hot Topic, Anchor Blue, P.F. Chang's, Crate & Barrel, Linens-N-Things, Staples and Chick-fil-A. The survey was conducted by the Behavior Research Center of Phoenix and filled out by senior retail executives.
Among the other findings:
- Sixty-nine percent of the respondents expect 2007 annual sales to increase; 71 percent expect a rise in the fourth quarter.
- Ten percent expect 2007 sales to decline and 5 percent expect fourth-quarter sales to drop.
- Two-thirds of the retailers haven't changed their projections despite the uncertain economic climate.
- For 2007 overall, 31 percent project low-single-digit gains and another 31 percent see high-single-digit gains to 10 percent for the year.
- For the fourth quarter, 24 percent see low-single-digit gains and 45 percent envision high-single-digit to 10 percent gains for the quarter.
- Forty-three percent of the retailers cited falling consumer confidence as the single biggest risk to holiday spending. Twenty-four percent cited the housing slump; 12 percent cited the consumer credit crunch, and another 12 percent said the high cost of fuel was the most serious concern.It also appears that 2008 will be a robust year for expansion, particularly in the U.S., according to the Macerich survey. On average, the retailers are planning 16.6 new stores in the West, 12.5 stores in the East, 14.4 stores in the Midwest, and 12.9 stores abroad. More than three-quarters of those surveyed said the majority of their expansion will occur in the U.S. over the next 10 years; 15 percent indicated Asia would be where most growth will occur, and 7 percent said Europe. Just 2 percent said Latin America, and no one mentioned the Middle East.
Apple received the most nods as the nation's hottest retailer, for being hip and innovative. Canadian yoga-inspired Lululemon got the second-most votes as a hot concept. Gymboree's Crazy 8 concept for affordable children's fashion also scored well, for seizing a niche and good styling. Others cited, but to a lesser degree, were Crewcuts, Blue Tulip, Fresh & Easy, Zumiez and G by Guess.
The survey also asked the retailers to list their priorities to ensure success in a volatile economy. More than half said focusing on areas with strong demographics and consumers insulated from economic change would be the principal strategy. Forty percent cited exclusive merchandise as the top priority, and an ability to change the mix fast was cited by 33 percent. Advertising/marketing was the highest priority for 13 percent of the field; 20 percent cited increased discounting and special promotions, and 18 percent said lower-priced merchandise would work to attract shoppers.
“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