Retailers, consumers and prices
Check out the apparent return of the frugalista.
Worries about stubbornly high U.S. unemployment and a tempermental economic recovery has shoppers reeling in spending on all but the essentials.
The 28 retailers tracked by Thomson Reuters reported an overall 2.9 percent rise in July sales at stores open at least one year, missing Wall Street forecasts of 3.1 percent. Seventeen of those retailers reported lower-than-expected sales, while nine — including Macy’s and Kohl’s — beat estimates.
“We are now in an environment where the dollars in consumers’ pockets are fewer, so the competition for those dollars has increased,” said Lawrence Creatura, portfolio manager at Federated Clover Investment Advisors.
U.S. consumer sentiment hit its lowest level in nine months in July on bleak prospects for jobs and income, according to Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s Surveys of Consumers. On Thursday, the government reported that new U.S. claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose in the latest week.
Check out Ron Burkle’s continued affinity for companies in trouble.
The supermarket magnate has taken a 6 percent stake in American Apparel, according to a regulatory filing on Thursday. That’s the billionaire’s latest investment in iconic companies that just can’t seem to get back on track.
The apparel maker and retailer, founded and run by the colorful, often scandalous Dov Charney, came close to tripping a loan covenant with its creditors but reached a deal yesterday, averting disaster.
Check out the cautious notes being sounded in the global luxury market.
Industry executives voiced concerns about everything from unemployment to Europe’s brewing economic crisis, but are nonetheless banking on growth from China and a recovering U.S. market.
Leading officials speaking at the Reuters Global Luxury Summit said the debt crisis in Europe is threatening to halt luxury’s rebound, but demand for fine merchandise was picking up in the United States while China’s shoppers were venturing frequently into Tokyo for top brands.
Bashful New York bargain hunters may finally be able to guard their modesty at one of the city’s biggest annual retail events, as luxury chain Barney’s is considering adding dressing rooms at its mobbed New York warehouse sale.
While well-educated and well-heeled professionals don’t think twice about unleashing their animal instincts to grab the best designer merchandise at 75 percent off, many are reticent about stripping down in public to make sure they have the right size before ringing up a final sale.
The U.S. economy’s funk is felt even in the luxury temples of fashion, the CEO of Barneys New York says.
”The economic downturn, unfortunately, is going to affect everybody,” Chief Executive Howard Socol told Reuters at the cocktail party launch of Donatella Versace’s menswear line at the Barneys New York store at 61st and Madison.