Retail shares slouched toward 2009 Monday after stores and analysts espied weekend sales signs that screamed 50 to 70 percent off and found many chains still struggling to clear inventory.
The Standard & Poor’s Retail Index slid 1 percent, or 2.60 points, to 268.76. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dipped a milder 0.4 percent, or 31.62 points, to close at 8,483.93 after The Dow Chemical Co. said a planned $17.4 billion petrochemical and plastics venture with Kuwait fell through.
In order to turn in a flat performance for 2008, retail shares would have to stage a heroic 52.5 percent rally over the last two trading sessions of the year — something even the most optimistic Wall Street watcher is not predicting.
“With gift cards down, Christmas cash down and consumers tapped out on their credit cards, retailers didn’t get that big rush they were hoping for,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at The NPD Group Inc.
Shoppers simply didn’t have the appetite to spend very much as the recession and financial crisis clamped down on consumer confidence and job prospects.
An estimated 20 to 30 percent drop in traffic in November and December likely led retailers to pull the trigger on clearance on Christmas Eve or earlier, said Roxanne Meyer, equity analyst at UBS Securities.
“We’re likely to see [buy-one, get-one] promos like never before, especially given that we believe demand for new product is only going to worsen,” Meyer said in a research note. “Our biggest concern is: What happens post-holiday, when we return to a purely self-purchasing environment?”
AnnTaylor Stores Corp.’s Ann Taylor business began cutting prices up to 60 percent on Dec. 17 and was featuring buy-one, get-one-half-off deals on denim after Christmas, said Meyer. Such promotions and their impact on future profits translated to a 12.1 percent drop in the firm’s shares to $9.11.
Other specialty chains experiencing declining market capitalization included The Talbots Inc., down 10.3 percent to $2.10; New York & Co. Inc., 9.3 percent to $1.95; Aéropostale Inc., 5.5 percent to $15.61, and Chico’s FAS Inc., 5.1 percent to $3.89.
“It has become even more imperative in the current economic uncertainty for retailers to be clean for the relatively weak January and February selling periods,” said Eric Beder, analyst at Brean Murray, Carret & Co.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“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