Broad declines on Friday were insufficient to keep U.S. retail stocks from posting increases for the week.
This story first appeared in the May 17, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The S&P Retail Index fell 5.37 points, or 1.2 percent, to 454.87 on Friday, preserving the better part of its 2.6 percent gain for the week and putting the year-to-date increase back into double-digit range at 10.6 percent. The 2010 pickup was literally cut in half, to 7.8 percent, during the prior week amid the near hysteria over the Greek debt crisis and the still-unexplained trading glitch that sent stocks tumbling two Thursdays ago.
Despite declines Friday, ranging from the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s 1.5 percent slide to the 2 percent sell-off of the Nasdaq Composite Index, all three major indices finished the week with gains. The Dow was up 2.3 percent and is ahead 1.8 percent for the year, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were up 2.2 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively, putting year-to-date advances at 1.9 percent and 3.4 percent.
Among 172 fashion, beauty and retail stocks tracked by WWD, last week 150 had gains and 18 saw declines while four were flat.
Friday’s sell-off in the U.S. mirrored activity on major European exchanges as anxiety about the Greek debt crisis remained high despite the nearly $1 trillion bailout plan approved earlier last week by European Union nations and the International Monetary Fund. The CAC 40 in Paris ended the day down 4.3 percent to 3,571.9 while the FTSE 100 in London dropped 3.1 percent to 5,264.05 and Frankfurt’s DAX Composite Index lost 3.5 percent to end the day and the week at 6,033.84. Still the CAC was up 1.6 percent for the week, the FTSE ahead 2.8 percent and the DAX up 5.6 percent, leaving their year-to-date results at down 9.3 percent, down 2.8 percent and up 1.3 percent, respectively.
Additionally, the euro, battered by the uncertain plight of Greece and other southern European economies, continued its downward trajectory, dipping below $1.24 to $1.2378. On Dec. 6, the euro was at $1.51, putting its depreciation at more than 18 percent in less than six months.
Asian markets ended the day with losses ranging from 0.5 percent for the SSE Composite Index in Shanghai to 1.5 percent for Tokyo’s Nikkei 225. For the week, the Hang Seng Index was up 1.1 percent, the Nikkei 0.9 percent and the SSE up 0.3 percent, reducing their declines since Dec. 31 to 7.9 percent, 0.8 percent and 17.7 percent.
The weak Wall Street numbers on Friday came despite a report from the Commerce Department saying retail sales gained 0.4 percent in April compared with a month earlier. In yearly comparisons, sales rose 8.8 percent over the prior year to $366.4 billion.
The apparel industry’s take on the sales numbers wasn’t quite as positive. Sales at apparel and accessories stores declined 1 percent in April, while department store receipts fell 1.5 percent. In yearly comparisons, specialty store sales advanced 5.7 percent to $18.3 billion and department stores rose 0.9 percent to $15.9 billion.
The Commerce Department also upwardly revised March retail figures, with month-over-month increases at specialty stores up 2.6 percent and those at department stores rising 1.3 percent.