WASHINGTON — Retailers picked up the pace of hiring in July, adding 46,800 jobs as employment gains in the overall economy continued at a steady pace, the U.S. Labor Department’s monthly employment report showed Friday.
Apparel and accessories stores added 4,300 jobs to employ 1.45 million in July. General merchandise stores, including discounters and department stores, added 9,100 jobs to employ 3.1 million. Department stores added 200 jobs to employ 1.5 million in July.
The overall economy added 162,000 jobs in July, coming in below economists’ expectations, while the unemployment rate fell 0.2 percent to 7.4 percent.
“Overall, the report was a bit disappointing relative to expectations, but I think that was not true for retail, where we had the strongest month-to-month job growth since last November,” said Scott Hoyt, director of consumer economics at Moody’s Analytics.
Hoyt noted that the 9,100 increase in general merchandise store jobs was the best growth since April. Apparel specialty store job gains were modest, although below the pace of growth in the prior two months, while department stores “did not contribute much” to the retail gains, Hoyt said, with their “third straight month of minimal job gains.”
“I think one of the big ongoing factors for department stores is the whole issue of lack of physical expansion,” Hoyt added. “Some of the big players, including Wal-Mart and to a lesser extent Target, are more interested in opening supercenters, which are not classified as department stores. In addition, a number of department stores are struggling a bit with J.C. Penney being the most prominent example.”
Douglas Handler, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight, said about 25 percent of monthly, job gains came from the overall retail sector, “suggesting that the current pace of consumer spending remains sustainable.”
“While average hourly earnings were down very slightly in July, overall earnings are growing slightly faster than inflation (as measured by the personal consumption deflator), suggesting that the current consumer spending contribution to economic growth will continue,” Handler added.
Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist at the National Retail Federation, said the “employment trend is positive yet lackluster,” adding that NRF expects the economy to pick up in the second half.
In the apparel and textile manufacturing sector, apparel employment fell 800 to 140,700 in July. Mills making apparel fabrics and yarns added 200 jobs to employ 114,900, while mills making home furnishings products trimmed 200 jobs to employ 113,600.
“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