NEW YORK — Talks of a merger between Federated Department Stores Inc. and May Department Stores Co. had retail investors in a tizzy last week as the sector undulated from the news.
But by Friday, investors settled into weighing the effect of rising interest rates on consumer spending, as well as tougher earnings comparisons on the results of the first half of 2005. Accordingly, the WWD Composite Stock Index plunged 3.3 percent to 1124.36, while the S&P 500 finished down 1.4 percent for the week to 1167.82.
Regarding a merged Federated-May entity, the one looming question centered on the real estate prospects.
Randy Woodle, managing director for the mall group CB Richard Ellis Inc., an international real estate services firm, predicts that “there is a lot of valuable real estate that could be put in play soon.”
“[The merger] could be a big landlord opportunity,” Woodle said. “If they consolidate real estate in today’s market and close up shops, there would be opportunities for landlords to further diversify their tenant mix at the property. Obviously if you go into a particular city and close half the anchors in the shopping centers it would be tough, but on a case-by-case basis, to receive real estate back would not be a bad thing.”
The industry is also keeping an eye on the possible sale of Federated’s and May’s credit card businesses. One contender is GE.
Speaking of GE, its Consumer Finance division teamed up with Discover Financial Services on a deal with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to launch a Wal-Mart Discover card. The card, which is expected to be available in March, will have no annual fee and is not limited to use just in Wal-Mart stores. It also offers up to 1 percent back from GE on all purchases, Discover Financial Services said in a Friday statement.
It is Discover’s first deal for a third-party credit card to be processed on its systems since Mastercard and Visa settled a $3 billion antitrust case in 2003. Wal-Mart was one of the lead plaintiffs in the case, claiming the two credit card giants used their market dominance to extract higher processing fees from retailers on certain types of cards.Since that settlement, Wal-Mart has used its clout to negotiate reduced fees, or in some cases, stopped accepting certain debit cards from Mastercard and Visa. Sam’s Club accepts only Discover and its own store credit card.
On the factoring front, “Go West” has been the mantra that most factoring firms have lived by in recent years. But now there’s been some movement back to the East.
Hana Financial, a Los Angeles-based factor, is opening the doors of a new Midtown Manhattan location. An open house is scheduled for Feb. 3.
Hana entered the market in 1994, making it one of the youngest players in the industry, as well as a standout in a decade defined by consolidation. According to the company, Hana is one of L.A.’s largest commercial finance firms, with assets of more than $109 million and factoring volume of $775 million.
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
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye