WASHINGTON — Discounters and specialty stores added jobs in July in contrast with overall retail trends as the U.S. unemployment rate reached a four-year high, the Labor Department said.
The stores apparently benefited from the residual effects of government tax rebate checks, analysts said. However, textile and apparel manufacturers cut payrolls.
General merchandise stores, which include discounters like Wal-Mart Stores Inc., added 3,900 jobs last month to employ 2.9 million people. Department stores, which are also included among general merchandise merchants, trimmed 2,200 positions to 1.5 million. Clothing and accessories stores added 700 jobs, bringing the number of employees for the sector to 1.5 million.
The total retail sector trimmed 16,500 jobs to employ 15.3 million people, with the job losses propelled by auto and home improvement sectors.
The manufacturing sector continued its decades-long contraction. Domestic apparel manufacturers trimmed 1,100 jobs. Textile manufacturers shed 3,800 jobs to employ 149,400 people, including a loss of 2,600 positions at textile mills that produce apparel fabric. Textile product mills, which manufacture mostly home furnishing fabrics, cut 1,200 jobs to employ 148,000 people.
In the overall economy, the downward trend continued, as employers cut 51,000 jobs, the seventh consecutive month of national employment declines. The jobless rate rose to 5.7 percent from 5.5 percent in June. The Labor Department said Friday that it adjusted June job losses to 51,000 from 62,000.
“Retail stands out as one of the sectors being hit hardest by this latest contraction of payrolls,” said John Lonski, chief economist, Moody’s Investor Services, adding that overall retail employment was down for the eighth consecutive month.
“Consumers have diminished job prospects, dwindling paychecks and higher travel costs to shopping centers, which doesn’t bode well for the retail sector,” said Richard Yamarone, director of economic research, Argus Research Corp. Stores are paring inventory and offering steep discounts to try to counteract the slowing economy, and at the same time trying to trim their employment costs, he said.
“This has resulted in notable declines in service, particularly in department stores,” Yamarone said. “Long lines, unkempt displays and essentially no help on the sales floors are commonplace at many large department stores. Now that there aren’t too many tax rebate checks left, we suspect that retail-related layoffs will trend higher in coming months.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast