Retailers Anticipate Tough Holiday Season

The latest predictions call for holiday same-store sales to be flat to down in the low single digits compared with a year ago. On the upside, profit margins are expected to be better, due to conservative buying, possible pent-up demand and lower prices to project an aura of greater value and dodge the markdown mania of a year ago. Yet even as vendors and retailers continue to struggle, the outlines of the world beyond the economic downturn are coming into focus, and the result can be summed up in one phrase: Less will be more. Meanwhile, consumers gained a bit of confidence, even as economists warned that those consumers will have to regain more of their spending power before the economy can fully recover.

Sears Tries Beauty Again

The beleaguered Sears is circling back into full-service beauty in a big way, following a costly and abrupt exit eight years ago. Over the next two weekends, Sears Holdings Corp. will open 13 full-service beauty departments in select malls in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York in an attempt to right a ship that’s been listing for years. Sears Holdings lost $94 million in its most recent quarter. In other beauty industry news, L’Oréal posted a 13.7 percent decline in net profits while forseeing a gradual improvement in sales over the year; Chanel plans to open a new boutique in Selfridges, and reality TV star Kim Kardashian is about to add one more title to her résumé: fragrance creator.

Sen. Edward Kennedy, Champion of Workers’ Rights

Sen. Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy, the longtime Democratic senator from Massachusetts who died Tuesday night at age 77, was a major champion of the American worker for more than four decades, from reforming the health care system to increasing the minimum wage and helping unions organize. Kennedy, who died of a cancerous brain tumor, will be buried Saturday next to his brothers, President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Robert Kennedy, at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Newsstand Sales Fall, but Overall Circulation Steady

The latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations reflect another half of declines in single-copy magazine sales. Aside from a few standouts, most titles reported double-digit drops — although overall circulation figures generally remained steady, buoyed by an increase in paid subscriptions.

Q&A: Iconix’s Neil Cole

Neil Cole, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Iconix Brand Group Inc., oversees a company that owns and manages 19 brands — from Badgley Mischka and London Fog to OP, Rocawear and Candie’s, all of which are known for their provocative marketing campaigns. “You’ve got to do something exciting and innovative and touch consumers’ sensibilities to get share of mind,” said the ceo, the brother of designer Kenneth Cole. “Our challenge is to get the brand in consumers’ minds any way we can, and provocative works.” (Click to see all the images.)

Project Preview in Las Vegas: Welcome to the Club

To aid buyers scouring Project in Las Vegas for the perfect items to fill their stores, show founder Sam Ben-Avraham is thinking like a retailer. With about 800 brands, split nearly evenly between men’s and women’s, spread over a trio of halls spanning 120,000 square feet at the Sands Expo & Convention Center, Ben-Avraham is focusing on what is important to shopkeepers: exclusivity and trends. “Right now, everyone in retail is trying to differentiate themselves from their neighbors and department stores,” he said. (Click for more from WWD Project Preview.)

A Mighty Heart With Charlotte Ronson

After she hosted a bash for her “I [Heart] Ronson” line for J.C. Penney at Los Angeles’ Chateau Marmont back in April, Charlotte Ronson followed up with a fete in her hometown of New York City on Thursday. A gaggle of PYTs, including Mischa Barton (in town filming “The Beautiful Life”), Olivia Thirlby, Zoe Kravitz, Eva Amurri, Sophia Bush and Hilary Duff filed into the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers for the summer-themed event, which featured campy touches such as an indoor beach volleyball court, cotton candy machines and hot pink barbeque grills. (Click to see all the images.)

WWD List: Spending in Apparel Product Categories

Consumer spending is down — with a few exceptions. The NPD Group has released its latest report detailing spending in apparel product categories from January through June. “As bad as things have been, the consumer has showed us that he or she didn’t disappear,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for NPD. “These numbers reflect that if it wasn’t something they had to have necessarily, consumers wouldn’t buy it. Spending has been need-based — but they are still spending.” (Click to see the full WWD List.)

Fall’s Hot Fashion Illustration Blog

Danny Roberts is something of a modelizer — but not the slick sort who’s always dating them. He draws them, and over the last year Roberts has posted several hundred portraits of catwalkers in clothing from Donna Karan to Alexander McQueen on his blog, Igor + André. Now his work is becoming the clothing itself, appearing on accessories and T-shirts this fall. (Click to see all the illustrations.)

Trend Report: Tees the Season

There is no shortage of fun T-shirts for holiday, with designers focusing on alternative fabrics like bamboo and hemp, novelty washes and experimental treatments — from gold foil to wax splatters. (Click to see full-sized images.)

WWD Back in Time: Unzipping Isaac Mizrahi

Nowadays the fashion documentary is chic. But when Isaac Mizrahi allowed his then-beau Douglas Keeve to film the designer working on — and living, breathing and, sometimes, doubting — his fall 1994 collection, it was a risky move, especially for a high-profile fashionista. (Click to see all the images.)

Click to see the previous WWD Week in Review (8/21/09).

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