NEW YORK — A combination of upbeat economic news within the retail sector and in the overall market kept investor worries over inflation and oil prices at bay during the week’s trading.
As a result, the WWD Composite Stock Index sharply veered from the past two months and climbed 3 percent over the week to close at 1,093.94 on Friday from 1,061.68 the prior week. The S&P 500 rose less dramatically, increasing 1.3 percent over the week to end at 1,171.35.
The retail sector got a boost from April’s same-store sales figures on Thursday. Department store same-store sales increased 2.7 percent, according to Citigroup Smith Barney analysts. This was above the firm’s forecast of 1.9 percent, and greater than the prior year’s 1.2 percent increase.
“In April, clubs led the pack, followed by the department stores, while discounters were disappointing,” said Citigroup Smith Barney analyst Deborah Weinswig. Weinswig was encouraged that weak sales in March and a wet spring did not appear to depress the sector as much as originally feared.
Although high-end department stores such as Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus continued to outperform the moderate and lower-end retailers, positive April same-store sales and a strong performance across most segments, such as apparel, accessories, handbags and cosmetics, were delivered by almost all department stores. April comps at Neiman Marcus grew 14.2 percent, and 6.9 percent at Nordstrom.
To further ease investor concerns over a slowing economy, the Labor Department released a stronger-than-expected job report Friday morning. Nonfarm payroll increased by 274,000 jobs in April, well above the forecasted 175,000. Disappointing March and February figures also were revised upward.
Hourly earnings increased slightly by 0.3 percent, but investors seemed content to not worry about inflation. The Federal Reserve met and boosted interest rates on Tuesday by 0.25 percent to 3 percent.
Analysts said May sales will continue to be impacted by the unseasonable weather, and concerns over mounting energy bills and higher borrowing costs will impact consumer confidence. Kimberly Greenberger, another Citigroup Smith Barney analyst, remained concerned about second-quarter performance “We remain cautious heading into 2Q given difficult sales and weather comparisons,” she wrote.
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
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