THE FED SAID: Economic expansion maintained a "moderate or steady" pace across much of the country in January and early February, according to the Federal Reserve's Beige Book report on economic conditions released Wednesday. Retailers in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas and Richmond, Va., reported that warmer than usual weather and holiday gift cards gave their businesses a shot in the arm in January, but sales softened in early February. "Virtually all [New York] retail contacts note that higher-end merchandise has generally sold better than lower-priced categories," the Fed report said. Consumers in the Chicago area increased their spending modestly, and one retailer said shoppers with gift cards often spent more than the value of the card. In the St. Louis region, about 59 percent of the retailers surveyed reported increased sales. "Winter seasonal items, home decor, jewelry and staple foods were all strong sellers, while women's clothing and winter clothing were moving more slowly," the report said.
LE CHATEAU IN PLAY: Montreal-based Le Château, which has 180 stores in Canada and five in the New York area, said Wednesday that it is considering an outright sale, among several alternatives, and has hired Genuity Capital Markets of Toronto to review its options. Chief executive officer Hershel Segalm, who founded the firm in 1959, said: "Given our strong financial situation and potential for growth ... our board believes it is appropriate at this time to undertake a full review of our strategic and financial options before finalizing our growth plans for the next several years." Segal, 75, owns 41 percent of Le Château, down from 58 percent 18 months ago, although he still controls 68 percent of the voting shares. For the recent nine months, earnings increased 25 percent to $5.3 million on sales that were up 12 percent to $60.2 million. Le Château might fetch as much as $360 million, said analyst Neil Linsdell of Versant Partners.
WAL-MART DEAL: Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Wednesday it has taken a controlling interest in Central American Retail Holding Co. and has renamed the 375-unit chain Wal-Mart Central America. "This additional investment demonstrates our confidence ... in the future of this business in Central America," said Mike Duke, vice chairman of Wal-Mart International. Wal-Mart has been seeking a majority share since it purchased a 33 percent stake in CARHCO from Dutch conglomerate Royal Ahold NV in September. The Bentonville, Ark., company did not disclose how much it spent to boost its stake to 51 percent. CARHCO, which had revenues of about $2.2 billion in 2005, operates grocery and general merchandise stores in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)