WASHINGTON — Retailers in cities across the U.S. reported the economic clouds of the last few months could be parting, but consumers remained focused on necessary purchases instead of luxuries, according to the Federal Reserve Board’s Beige Book released Wednesday.Anecdotal accounts in the report point to a leveling out of sales pressures and in some regions slight improvements, as the economic downturn appeared to moderate. Overall, the 12 districts included in the Beige Book said economic conditions were still difficult, but five districts said the downward trend was slowing and several said their outlook had improved.Retailers in New York, Minneapolis and Dallas reported slightly improved sales in recent weeks. Reports from Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Cleveland, Kansas City and Atlanta were flat or mixed. Several districts said discount retailers continued to perform better than other stores.Sales of luxury goods and discretionary purchases were sluggish in most districts. Retailers in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco and Kansas City reported consumers were favoring less expensive or discount lines and stores over premium brands and luxury products.In Philadelphia, merchants gave conflicting reports, but generally indicated they do not expect sales to improve during the rest of 2009. The chief executive officer of a large chain store said, “We are a value proposition, so we are benefitting from uncertain economic times.” Another executive at a high-fashion chain said, “Luxury is in the tank.”Sales in Kansas City remained steady, according to retailers in the district, but had not yet recovered compared to last year. Sales of basic apparel items increased, but demand for luxury goods and home furnishings was still lackluster, according to retailers in the area. Mall traffic was also slower.Department stores and specialty retailers in San Francisco reported weak overall demand. One retailer in New York said price discounting had reared its head again recently.In contrast, most retailers in Boston reported a modest sales increase over the same period a year earlier despite continued pressures on other sectors in the district.The uneven Beige Book results, coupled with a weak Treasury bill auction and a government report of an unexpected drop in crude oil inventories, contributed to a down day for retail stocks and the market in general Wednesday. After two days of small advances, the S&P Retail Index fell 3.10 points, or 0.9 percent, to 335.68, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.3 percent to 8,739.02 and the S&P 500 was off 0.4 percent to 939.15.
La Double J made a name for itself with its vintage-inspired prints, but for resort, designer JJ Martin has ventured into new territory: enter rich jewel toned solids and decadent embellishment, in the form of appliqués, crystals and sequins. #wwdfashion #resort19 #ladoublej
This Just In: J. Crew Group has named Johanna Uurasjarvi as its chief design officer.
Uurasjarvi succeeds Somsack Sikhounmuong, who left the company last September. Tap the link in bio for the full report. #wwdnews
“She came into my hotel room and she was like, ‘I have Chanel and Christian Dior.’ She was like, ‘Chanel likes you.’ And I was like, ‘I’m going to start crying,’” breakout star Maddie Hasson tells WWD of her styling sessions Molly Dickson. “I really like classic, elegant things. I love the way Anna Wintour dresses.” Read more about Hasson’s role in @impulseseries on wwd.com. (📸: @jgreenery ) #wwdeye
@virgilabloh revealed he's working with Australian stylist and
Vogue Australia fashion director @christinecentenera for his debut @louisvuitton men's collection, which will be presented in Paris on June 21. Centenera met Abloh while both working with Kanye West, where she consulted on his all his runway collections since his debut spring 2012 women's wear show. Read the full story on WWD.com. #wwdfashion #wwdnews (📷: @asussmanphoto)
"In order for Shudu to wear garments, she needs to be able to put them on, just like you would in the real world. You have to digitize the outfits," said Cameron-James Wilson on dressing 3-D model @shudu.gram for her WWD photoshoot with @itsclo3d. #wwdfashion (📸: @cjw.photo)
“Shudu is a digital supermodel, a very glamour and amazing woman. But she’s 3-D,” says Cameron-James Wilson, a fashion photographer and the creature of @shudu.gram. Here, Shudu wears @cushnieetochs for her debut fashion editorial. #wwdfashion (📷: @cjw.photo)
“It is the fierce female performances that came before me that made be able to clearly identify for myself what it was that I wanted to do, what kind of artist I wanted to be, what kind of films I wanted to make,” said @brielarson at the Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards. See more pictures from the event on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: Matt Baron)