WASHINGTON — Retailers of apparel and accessories can thank slumping auto sales and cold weather for their biggest one-month sales gain since last December, according to economists.
Retail sales at clothing and accessories stores jumped 4 percent to $14.69 billion in October against September on a seasonally adjusted basis and sales also gained 3.6 percent when compared with October 2001, the Commerce Department’s report revealed Thursday.
"The consumer has in aggregate so much more money left over at the end of the day, when you think how little money is being spent on autos now," said Michael J. Donnelly, senior economist at the WEFA Group. "Even with a smaller pot, consumers are going out and buying clothes."
Donnelly stressed that total consumption is still down, but he added that consumer spending has "shifted dramatically."
"There have been only three other months over the last decade where apparel sales rose 4 percent or more, and two of those months were rebounds from the Sept. 11 falloff," said Tara Weiner, managing partner of Deloitte & Touche’s National Consumer Business Practice.
"For department stores, it was the strongest gain in 15 months," Weiner said. "October’s blast of cold air seems to have given consumers a reason to replace old clothing, which helped boost apparel sales."
Sales at department stores, excluding leased departments, rose 1.2 percent to $19.01 billion in October compared with September, but sales dropped 0.8 percent against October 2001.
"In addition, there is pent-up demand from last year," Weiner added. "Because last winter was particularly mild, a lot of people didn’t buy new coats or other cold-weather clothing."
At general merchandise stores, sales rose 1.1 percent last month to $38.75 billion and increased by 5.7 percent against a year ago.
The National Retail Federation is still standing by its holiday sales forecast of 4 percent growth, barring another jolt to the economy.
"The wild card in the holiday picture could be an external shock, such as a breakout of war with Iraq or soaring oil prices prior to the end of the year," said Rosalind Wells, NRF chief economist. "We think this scenario, however, is unlikely."Overall retail sales were flat against September and fell slightly by 0.7 percent, mostly because of a drop in auto sales, compared with October 2001. Retail sales, excluding autos, rose 0.7 percent in October and gained 4.5 percent against a year ago.
"In the overall economy, there will be a bit of a slump in the fourth quarter even with a big bump in retail sales," Donnelly said. "People will be shocked by fourth-quarter numbers, but the one category that will do alright is retail."
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)