WASHINGTON — The arrival of stimulus checks in May and June could not counteract the overall slowing effects of economic pressures on U.S. consumer spending, according to the Federal Reserve Board’s Beige Book report.
The tax rebate checks had little or no effect on most consumer goods, with almost all of the 12 districts tracked by the Fed reporting slowing or weak sales. The anecdotal report, released on Wednesday, said “consumer spending was sluggish or slowing in nearly all districts, although tax rebate checks boosted sales for some items.”
Electronics in particular got a small sales boost in some regions from the rebate checks, the Fed reported, but many consumers spent the extra cash on essential purchases like food and fuel. Sales at stores selling discretionary items, like apparel and housing related goods, were especially weak, the districts said.
Most retailers in Boston said there was a sales downturn in May and June, with inventory levels in the region reported to be down in response to softening sales. Some retailers said they were reducing head counts, as well.
Conversely, inventory levels were high for San Francisco department stores and smaller retail outlets due to soft sales. Discount chains reported small sales increases and continued to outperform conventional department stores, the Beige Book said.
“As in other periods, respondents pointed to increases in food and energy prices as a restraining factor on sales of other products,” the report said.
Retailers in New York said sales were mixed, but generally stayed close to plan in July. New York City in particular reported “continued brisk business.” Compared with a year ago, sales were up slightly, driven mostly by increased purchases of seasonal apparel, retailers reported. However, one major retail chain said that while costs for holiday season merchandise had not increased substantially, the costs for spring 2009 items were showing “some significant escalation.”
Philadelphia reported increased sales at discount stores, but tax rebates gave a boost mostly to electronics and appliances. Discounters in Richmond reported an increase in sales of grocery and entertainment items.
“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