Friday, February 26, 2010

HR Quarterly Round-Up: Gap, Dillard's

(Photo: AP)

Gap 4Q Profit Jumps 45%; Plans To Increase Dividend 18% (WSJ): Gap Inc.'s fiscal fourth-quarter profit grew by 45%, on strong sales at its long-struggling Old Navy chain, as the casual-apparel retailer announced plans to lift its annual dividend by 18% and launch a $1 billion stock-buyback effort.
Leaner Inventory Lifts Dillard's (Forbes): Department store operator Dillard's had a blowout day on Wall Street Monday. Shares of the Little Rock, Ark.-based company jumped nearly 20% on greatly improved year-over-year quarterly earnings, making Dillard's the second-biggest gainer on the New York Stock Exchange in March's first day of trading.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

HR Quarterly Round-Up: Saks, Revlon, Limited Brands

Vintage Revlon Ad From The July 1949 Issue of Ladies' Home Journal
(Photo: Vintage 123)

Saks Fourth-Quarter Loss Narrows As Luxury Demand Heals (MarketWatch): Luxury retailer Saks Inc.'s fourth-quarter loss narrowed after it controlled inventory and expenses and slowed the rate of its sales decline.

Revlon 4Q Profit Up As International Sales Climb (Business Week): Beauty products company Revlon Inc. said Thursday that its profit rose 13 percent in the fourth quarter as reduced expenses, increased international sales and favorable exchange rates more than offset lower sales in the U.S.

Limited Beats Street, Bullish On February Sales (Reuters): Limited Brands Inc posted sharply higher profit on Wednesday that beat Wall Street estimates, and said its February same-store sales would likely be far better than expected.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

HR Quarterly Round-Up: Nordstrom, Macy's, Liz Claiborne

(Photo: Kyle Ericksen/WWD)

Nordstrom's 4Q Profit More Than Doubles (NY Times): Carrying less inventory helped upscale retailer Nordstrom Inc. more than double its second-quarter profit compared with a year earlier, though it tempered its sales outlook for 2010 and its profit results fell slightly short of forecasts.
Lower Costs Lead Macy's To 4Q Profit (Crain's New York Business): Macy's Inc. returned to a fourth-quarter profit Tuesday as lower expenses helped the department store operator even as sales dipped.
Liz Claiborne quarterly sales, forecast miss view (Reuters): Liz Claiborne Inc. reported a fourth-quarter loss that matched analysts' expectations but sales and a first-quarter forecast that fell short, hurt by weak sales at wholesale and at its Mexx store chain.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Madonna For Macy's?

In today's "You're About Two Decades Late" headlines, WWD is reporting that Madonna is in talks with Iconix Brand Group to launch a contemporary women's line that will be sold exclusively at Macy's department stores:
The merchandise would include apparel, accessories, intimates and footwear. Label names under serious consideration for the product lines include Material Girl for the apparel and Truth or Dare for the lingerie and underwear.
I know I should reserve judgement until I see the clothes, but I must admit that my initial reaction is: Do people want to dress like Madonna? Her M by Madonna line for H&M had several cute pieces that would fit the Macy's aesthetic, but it wasn't as well received as people expected.  Which brings us to the subject of the success rate of celebrity lines:
Speaking to American Public Media, Marshall Cohen, NPD's senior analyst, estimated that the misses in celebrity lines outnumber hits by a two-to-one margin. Jessica Simpson had a successful footwear collection but has struggled with sportswear. Jennifer Lopez pulled the plug on her Sweetface last year amid the recession. Other fashion failures included efforts from Eve, Paris and Nicky Hilton and Whitney Port. (SOURCE: Retail Wire)
Madonna must bring something new and fresh, and naming your line Material Girl or Truth or Dare won't cut it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Maria Pinto Closes Boutique; Files For Bankruptcy

Sad news. The Chicago Sun-Times has reported that Maria Pinto, the prominent Chicago designer who dressed First Lady Michelle Obama during the the 2008 presidential campaign, has decided to shut down her boutique and will file for bankruptcy:

Pinto said, ''After 20 years of pursuing my greatest passion and striving to build a successful high-end fashion business, the time has come for a new chapter in my life.''

Pinto cited ''increasing economic challenges and soft buying trends at the top end of the apparel market'' among the reasons for the downfall of her business, which includes the shuttering of her design and wholesale operations and the retail store on South Jefferson.
The news comes as a surprise to many in the industry. Ms. Pinto became the darling of the fashion world when Mrs. Obama wore several of her designs on the campaign trail (My favorite was the purple silk sheath Mrs. Obama wore when her hubby, President Barack Obama, clinched the democratic nomination. She looked gorgeous!). Last year, Ms. Pinto showed her Spring 2010 collection at NY Fashion in September, and was inducted into the CFDA last year. So, the question is: What happened? Why she wasn't able to capitalize on the Obama connection like J.Crew and Jason Wu, two of Mrs. Obama's fashion favorites? Kevin Wilder, retail analyst and president of Wilder, Inc., tells WWD that her wholesale business may have been the problem:

“If some of the boutiques she was selling to weren’t paying their bills, there’s only so long you can exist. I suspect that’s what happened,” said Wilder, also questioning whether Pinto was able to adjust her prices downward as some other designers have done.
Another potential factor could be Pinto's price point. While other luxury labels have either lowered their prices, or created products specifically for their budget conscience cliente, like Coach, Inc., Ms. Pinto kept her price point the same.

But Ms. Pinto says don't count her out just yet. ''I am confident that the 'Maria Pinto' name will not go away, but will merely take a break, before emerging in a new form. I plan on using the next several months to explore different avenues and opportunities for business, as economic conditions improve," Pinto said.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Alexander McQueen (1969-2010)

Lee Alexander McQueen
( March 16, 1969 - February 11, 2010)