NEW YORK — Investors were shopping for retail on Monday with the expectation that consumers have some shopping plans of their own.
While other major indices gave back most of the gains they picked up earlier in Monday’s trading session, the Standard & Poor’s Retail Index came out the big winner, closing up 2.44 points, or 0.8 percent, to 321.07.
After a brief climb over the feel-good 9,000 point mark earlier in the session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 47.55 points, or 0.5 percent, to end the day at 8,897.81. It was the Dow’s highest close all year, as the Nasdaq finished down 5.16 points, or 0.3 percent, to 1,590.75.
Specialty retailers garnered the greatest share of the gains, but many broadline retailers, including department stores, shared in Monday’s bounty as expectations of a modest recovery in the second half combined with a hint of optimism about same-store sales for May.
“My sense is there is renewed interest in what may be a recovery in the consumer sector in the second half,” Jeffrey Klinefelter, a retail analyst with U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, said.
Dorothy Lakner, a retail analyst with CIBC World Markets, noted that, despite the soggy weather in the Northeast, there could be an upside to May’s same-store sales when the majority of the industry reports results on Thursday.
The Institute for Supply Management’s May activity index showed that the battered U.S. manufacturing sector slowed its rate of decline, coming in at a better-than-expected 49.4 in May from 45.4 in April, and marginally better than the 41.5 of February 2001, just prior to the start of the recession.
Shares of Coach won investor adulation, advancing $1.72, or 3.5 percent, to close at $50.85 on New York Stock Exchange, after Merrill Lynch raised its rating on the luxury accessories company to “buy” from “neutral.” Coach broke its previous 52-week high of $49.25, reached May 30.
Analyst Mark Friedman wrote in a report the boost to Coach reflected “an increased level of confidence about the strength of the business and the ability to outperform in this environment against tough ‘compares.’”He said he based his elevation on Coach’s “outstanding, differentiated, fun and yet still classically Coach” fall-holiday 2003 products, the firm’s emphasis on testing, new customer potential and its attractive position in the market.
Ann Taylor also received a kind word from Banc of America retail analyst Dana Cohen. In a note maintaining her “buy” position, Cohen said AT is poised for a second half improvement, driven by the management changes at the AT division. Shares of AT rose 72 cents, or 2.8 percent, to $26.29.
“We remain very encouraged by the organizational changes at AT. Clearly the biggest change has been the addition of Jerome Jessup. However, with him and Mark Eisen and now most recently Michele Delahunty from Gap, the company’s design-merchandising bench is clearly beefed up,” Cohen wrote.
As reported, since last summer, the AT unit has been bolstered by the appointment of Jessup as senior executive vice president for merchandising and design, Eisen as senior vice president of design and Delahunty as senior vice president and general merchandise manager.
Other retail gainers included: American Eagle Outfitters, up 60 cents to $17.53; Cache, up 90 cents to $11; Charlotte Russe, up 46 cents to $10.01; Coldwater Creek, up 68 cents to $12.97; Federated Department Stores, up $1.15 to $33.65; Gap, up 43 cents to $17.43; May Department Stores, up 69 cents to $22.38; ShopKo Stores, up 46 cents to $12.15; Saks, up 28 cents to $9.66; United Retail, up 14 cents to $1.95; Wilson Leather, up 25 cents to $5.97.
Sears Roebuck rose $2, or 6.7 percent, to $31.98 after saying it would work aggressively to maintain its market share in appliances.
“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