Retail shares took an early hit as a number of chains, including Tiffany & Co., Ascena Retail Group Inc. and Aéropostale Inc., gave disappointing holiday updates.
On the plus side, Urban Outfitters Inc. saw sales, including full price sales, perk up. At 10 a.m. on Wall Street, shares of Tiffany were down 5.4 percent to $59.82, Ascena was down 11.7 percent to $16.44 and Aéropostale was off 10.8 percent to $12.15. Shares of American Eagle, which held its own for the quarter, dipped 4.8 percent to $19.65.
Urban Outfitters, however, saw its stock pop up 4 percent to $42.67.
Tiffany said its comparable-store sales were flat for November and December combined as total sales increased 4 percent to $992 million. Comps in the company’s New York flagship fell 2 percent.
“Holiday period sales growth was at the low-end of our expectations, and we now expect that net earnings for the year ending January 31st will be at the lower-end of the forecast that we issued on November 29th of $3.20-$3.40 per diluted share,” said Michael J. Kowalski, chairman and chief executive officer.
The jeweler will give the final tally for the fourth quarter in March. Looking ahead, Kowalski said earnings in 2013 would grow 6 percent to 9 percent and that the company was planning conservatively for sales growth given “uncertainty about general economic conditions in all our major markets.”
Urban Outfitters Inc. said its comparable sales rose 9 percent including Web sales, while store comps on their own fell 1 percent, in part because goods bought on the Web, but returned to a store count against the store. Net sales increased 15 percent to $666 million. Ceo Richard Hayne said the company delivered better product and was more disciplined with its inventory, which led to “improvement in regular priced sales.”
Ascena Retail Group Inc. said its November and December comps inched up a less-than-planned 1 percent.
David Jaffe, president and ceo, said, “The Holiday selling season proved to be challenging and we increased promotional activity in order to ensure appropriate inventory levels going forward. We are taking the necessary markdowns in the second quarter to effectively transition into the spring season.”
Ascena now expects adjusted diluted earnings per share $1.20 to $1.30 this year, instead of the $1.45 to $1.55 previously projected.
Aéropostale Inc. said its comp1s for the nine weeks ended Dec. 29 fell 8 percent on top of a 9 percent drop year earlier.
“Following a strong Black Friday weekend, sales and traffic trends deteriorated significantly in December,” said Thomas Johnson, ceo. “From a merchandise perspective our core basics businesses, particularly graphics and fleece, remained challenged. We continue to manage our inventories carefully, and we will enter the spring season with fresh and updated assortments."
The specialty store cut its fourth-quarter earnings projection to a range of 20 cents to 24 cents a diluted share, down from the 36 cents to 41 cents previously projected.
Holding its own was American Eagle Outfitters Inc. which said fourth-quarter comps through Jan. 8 increased 5 percent, versus a 13 percent bump a year earlier. The company said it continues to expect fourth-quarter earnings of 54 cents to 56 cents.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast