WASHINGTON — Consumers shopping for the holidays gave a boost to department stores in November, but they appeared to pull back on their purchases from apparel and accessories stores, the Commerce Department’s monthly sales report showed Thursday.
Department stores posted a seasonally adjusted 0.3 percent increase in sales to $14.5 billion last month, while general merchandise stores, a category that includes discounters and department stores, saw a 0.1 percent increase in sales to $55.3 billion.
Specialty stores posted a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent decline in sales to $21.2 billion in November, following a strong upwardly revised sales gain of 2.6 percent in October.
“This was an incredibly strong report except for apparel specialty stores,” said Scott Hoyt, director of consumer economics at Moody’s Analytics. “I think a lot of the weakness there in November is probably just payback from October, which had a strong increase.”
Hoyt said specialty store sales were up 4.1 percent in November compared with a year earlier, indicating some strength in the category.
John Yozzo, managing director at FTI Consulting, said weakness in the teen sector has brought down the overall specialty store sales numbers.
“I’m not sure that will change until young people have an easier time finding jobs,” Yozzo said. “That accounts for a lot of challenges in that sector. They just don’t have the income.”
Department stores are “holding their own,” Yozzo said, pointing in particular to Macy’s Inc. and Dillard’s, which, he noted, have “become more competitive price-wise” and have also done well online.
Yozzo noted that apparel sales numbers are somewhat skewed because the government separates the category of e-commerce sales, of which apparel accounts for a significant amount, from brick-and-mortar store sales. Nonstore, or e-commerce, sales for November rose 2.2 percent, according to the data.
In the overall economy, retail sales rose 0.7 percent to $432.3 billion, driven by “sizable gains” in autos, electronics, furniture and online sales, said Chris G. Christopher Jr., director of consumer economics at IHS Global Insight.
“This is good news for retailers since coming into the holiday season, consumer mood turned sour,” said Christopher, noting that IHS is forecasting a 3.2 percent increase in holiday retail sales compared with a year earlier and is upping its fourth-quarter real consumer spending growth to 3.2 percent from 2.3 percent, based on the new retail sales data.
“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