NEW YORK — Inflation fears and a slight uptick in consumer prices had investors pulling out of the stock market last week.
As a result, the WWD Composite Stock Index fell 1 percent in the shortened holiday week, closing Thursday’s session at 1,130.18 from 1,141.98 the prior week. Among broader indices, the S&P 500 dipped 1.5 percent to 1,171.42 and the S&P Retail Index gave up 1.1 percent to close at 421.59. The New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq were closed on Friday for the Good Friday holiday.
Talk on the Street during the short trading week were mergers and acquisitions. At the Merrill Lynch Retailing Leaders Conference, retail executives discussed potential impacts from the impending Federated Department Stores-May Department Stores merger.
J.C. Penney Co.’s Bob Johnson told conference attendees that the department store chain could benefit from the merger should the combined company cater to a more upscale customer. Johnson, director of investor relations at J.C. Penney, said the company could be interested in buying overlapping stores should Federated decide to sell them, according to Merrill Lynch analyst Daniel Barry in a research report.
Jones Apparel Group chief executive Peter Bonaparth said he thinks the Federated-May merger could give way to an improved distribution channel, but he recognized the integration won’t be easy, said Merrill Lynch analyst Virginia Genereux in her note. Bonaparth is concerned that May will be in “limbo” for most of this year, and Federated could move too quickly next year to upgrade existing May stores. Jones derived 26 percent of its revenues in 2004 from Federated and May.
Shares of J.C. Penney closed the week up 0.7 percent at $46.04, while shares in Jones Apparel Group closed Thursday at $31.76, down 0.7 percent for the week.
Meanwhile, massive savings on manufacturing costs anticipated after the removal of quotas on China aren’t likely to materialize, according to analysts who recently visited the country.
According to Wachovia Capital Markets analyst Joseph Teklits, labor shortages and rising costs for electricity and raw materials are putting pressure on Chinese factories. “[Wal-Mart] is saying that it will see 12 percent to 15 percent savings from the removal of quota this year, but all of the companies we met with said that level of saving is on the extreme side of possibilities and could only be achieved with aggressive tactics [focused on price over all else],” said Teklits in a research report released March 21. Teklits also noted the belief that new safeguards on apparel imports from China would be imposed had prevented Chinese factories from being flooded with new orders.
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)