Today’s Fashion Headlines: Holiday Shopping, E-commerce Delivery Rush, Xcel Buys H Halston

December 23, 2014 • Fashion Blog, Fashion News

Holiday Shopping 2014

Holiday Season Shopping Reports

Super Saturday proved to be the biggest shopping day of the year but the outlook for the holiday season is modest. Last weekend marked the second decent sales report in a row after early December’s deep lull.  The forecast for holiday 2014 stands at low-single-digit gains for retailing generally, with the apparel sector falling far short of that.

“There was only about a 2 percent increase on Super Saturday weekend, with $42 billion in sales versus last year’s $41 billion,” said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners. According to CGP, Saturday’s business alone generated $23 billion, topping Black Friday’s $20 billion in sales.

There also was a strong feeling that consumers still are holding back their purchasing and  are waiting until the last minute to finish their shopping,” said Scott McCall, senior vice president of merchandising for Wal-Mart U.S. “While many customers start their Christmas shopping in November, the majority don’t put their lists away until Dec. 24.”

At two of the nation’s largest malls this past weekend, the Mall of America in Minnesota and King of Prussia in Pennsylvania, the turnout was temporarily impacted by demonstrations by groups protesting grand-jury decisions in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y. Mall of America was forced to close stores on its east side and there were 25 arrests. At King of Prussia, demonstrators lay down on the ground but there were no arrests.

Holiday Delivery Rush Is On

E-commerce sales were strong last week as holiday shipping cutoffs approached, gearing up for the mad dash on Monday to deliver the last packages before Christmas Day.

UPS said today will be its heaviest shipping day of the year. The carrier predicts that 34 million packages will be delivered today, about a 10 percent increase from last year’s 31 million. Last week was another high-traffic e-commerce week, as Dec. 15 and Dec. 18 were the last days for free ground shipping for many retailers, depending on which carrier they used.

However Amazon said on Dec. 16 that it would extend its free shipping for orders placed through Dec. 19. Prime members were eligible for free shipping for orders placed on Monday and are guaranteed a Christmas Eve arrival date (there is even one-day shipping that costs $2.99). On Dec. 18, Amazon said it would offer free two-hour delivery to Prime members in Manhattan via the Prime app, and even an expedited one-hour delivery service cost just $7.99.

“The largest pure e-commerce play came out and announced it extended the deadline for free shipping. That’s an interesting trend, [but] it can be a somewhat negative signal for the market,” Calvin Silva, senior retail analyst at Nasdaq Advisory Services, said. “It could be a negative indicator that the inventory levels are higher than anticipated.”

Xcel Buys Halston Diffusion Lines

Xcel has acquired the H Halston and H by Halston brands for $27.7 million in a combination of cash, shares of Xcel Brands stock and warrants. Robert D’Loren, chairman and chief executive officer of Xcel, said, “Halston was an American icon, and these brands, inspired by his legacy, are an excellent acquisition for our growing omnichannel company.”

D’Loren has hired his own design and marketing teams to work on the Halston diffusion lines. Xcel and House of Halston will work together to ensure alignment of brand aesthetics for each label and the consumer distribution channels each targets.

– Carol Calacci

Source & Photo: WWD

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