Retailers Beat Muted Profit Expectations

Five retailers filing second-quarter results Thursday — Wal-Mart, Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, American Apparel and Kohl’s — all exceeded or met analysts’ expectations despite declines in their same-store sales. Elsewhere, Liz Claiborne Inc. is trimming down again as the company digests wider second-quarter losses, while profits and sales at Macy’s Inc. tumbled in the second quarter due to the rough economy and costs. J.C. Penney Co. Inc. raised its third-quarter guidance despite reporting a $1 million net loss for the second quarter ended Aug. 1, and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. said it swung to a $26.7 million loss, or 30 cents a diluted share, in the quarter. In Munich, Escada AG officially filed for insolvency after a bond exchange offer failed to gain sufficient support, undermining its financial rescue plan.

Private Sales Burgeon on the Web

Privacy clearly has its attractions. While online discounters such as Bluefly and Overstock have been around for years without impressive results, the online sample sale format known as a “private sale” has caught on worldwide like Champagne at a wedding, showing impressive growth and attracting venture funding. Capitalizing on the trend, hopes to be the primary private sale choice for beauty. Also looking to boost its presence, Target announced plans to build and manage its own platform for in time for the 2011 holiday season, and Loeffler Randall unveiled its new e-commerce site.

Analysts Forecast Challenging Back-to-School

Comparable-store sales at broadline retailers are forecast to fall 3 to 4 percent for August and September combined, but chains could scrape through relatively unscathed even if they have to cut prices to clear sales floors for the holiday season. The NPD Group reported 44 percent of those surveyed said they would spend less this b-t-s season than they did a year ago, while 32 percent expect to spend the same and 23 percent foresee greater expenditures.

Bloomingdale’s Overhauls Flagship

Amid the nation’s deepest slump since The Great Depression, Bloomingdale’s has come up with a bold response — rebuilding the entire 60,000-square-foot main floor of the Manhattan flagship. The department store is just two months from completing the project and unleashing a barrage of advertising and events touting 59th Street as “the biggest makeover in NYC.” There will be 525 events in cosmetics alone through December. (Click for views of the makeover.)

Beauty’s Top 100

The top 100 ranks the world’s largest beauty manufacturers in 2008. The who’s who of the cosmetics industry, these firms weigh in at $168.21 billion. The U.S. has the most companies on the list with 33; France is second with 13. Japan has 11; Italy, 10; Germany, eight, and the U.K., seven. South Korea, Switzerland and Brazil have three apiece, and Russia has two. With one each are Belgium, China, Finland, Latvia, Peru, Spain and Sweden. The firms are listed by their parent companies and ranked by their beauty sales for the 2008 calendar year. (Click for more from WWD Beauty Biz.)

Woodstock at 40

Rock stars, designers, managers and concert-goers alike discuss how Woodstock affected them — and American culture at large. Young designers share their takes on the era’s fringe, flowers, beads and bell bottoms. Also, see the Woodstock-inspired WWD fashion shoot, as well as behind-the-scenes video. Today, new music festivals have sprung up as a locus point for music and fashion.

Global Style: Copenhagaen Fashion Week Expands

Determined to strut its stuff despite a challenging retail landscape for the Scandinavian fashion industry, Copenhagen Fashion Week presented its largest runway schedule yet with a record 42 shows, mainly made up of Danish designer-driven labels. (Click to see some of the designers’ looks.)

WWD List: As Green as It Gets

The green movement appears to have taken root. Seventy-seven percent of consumers said it’s “somewhat or very important” for companies to be eco-friendly, according to a new study conducted in seven countries, including the U.S. and the U.K.

Second YSL Auction to Fetch $5.7M

Furniture and works of art from the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé collection are expected to fetch up to 4 million euros, or $5.7 million, in a charity auction at Christie’s in November. The proceeds from the sale of 1,200 pieces — including paintings, furniture, sculptures and textiles from Château Gabriel near Deauville as well as the Parisian residences of the two collectors — will be destined to HIV research and the fight against AIDS. (Click to see items from the collection.)

WWD Back in Time: The 1975 Opening of ‘Tommy’

They sure don’t throw parties like they did in the Seventies. Case in point: the party for the New York premiere of “Tommy,” the film based on The Who’s seminal rock opera, in March 1975. Held in the 57th Street subway station, the fete drew the likes of Elton John, Ann-Margret and Tina Turner (all of whom had roles in the star-studded movie), as well as Anjelica Huston, Halston, Angela Lansbury, Stephen Burrows and Maxime de la Falaise. (Click to see all the images.)

Click to see the previous WWD Week in Review (8/7/09).

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