“We definitely saw traffic lower than we anticipated but it’s played out the way we expected,” said Mary Ellen Coyne, chief executive officer of fashion chain J. McLaughlin. “There was a slowdown in cold weather accessories. We don’t see people running to pick up faux fur hats or gloves. There’s a general sense that the customer is really looking for more interesting gifts, whether it’s home, technology or an experience. They are tired of giving typical presents. That being said, we had high single-digit increases and full price was definitely driving the business. We don’t go on sale until the day after Christmas.”
“Things are progressing as we expected,” said Michael Appel, chairman and CEO of Rue21. “We see a flight to value. Retailers in that segment are doing better. A lot of our customers shop at Target and Walmart and come to us for fashion.”
At CosBar, co-president Oliver Garfield said the Aspen, Colorado based high-end beauty chain felt the effect of the calendar shift. The second week of December was “exceedingly soft,” said Garfield, but business dramatically increased Dec. 16 to Dec. 18. Garfield said Super Saturday was below plan, although with Christmas falling one day later in the week, the days leading up to the holiday became progressively stronger.
“We saw record sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday with some slowdown during Super Saturday. With still a couple of shopping days left, it’s too early to say what overall holiday will look like,” said a Neiman Marcus Group spokesperson on Monday.
“Our business is OK, up low-single digits, but I don’t hear that we are better or worse than others,” said a CEO of an upscale fashion brand.
One outerwear and apparel supplier said: “In our part of the industry, it’s been spotty. The weather has been inconsistent.”
“We think it’s been a great season, a short season where shoppers have a sense of urgency. We have seen strong traffic and retailers have been been very positive about their year. Last weekend was really good, similar to Black Friday,” said CBL CEO Lebovitz. He cited Lego, American Girl, Bath & Body Works, American Eagle, Aerie and H&M as attracting good traffic. He also said certain Macy’s stores have captured additional business in malls where competitors have closed.