A cold start to spring put the skids on apparel retailers’ sales and challenges have continued through the summer, thanks to increased competition, falling foot traffic and a steady stream of discounting. That being said, July saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average gain 2.69%, or 483 points, and apparel retail stocks rose 8.71%, or 487.73 points, during the month.
Shares of active apparel and footwear giant Nike (NKE) inched up 0.73% in July to close the month at $55.50, after reporting gloomy fourth-quarter and full-year results on June 28. While revenue rose 6 percent to reach $8.24 billion in the three months ended May 31, and several international markets achieved double-digit growth, the company said its North American business was still reeling from the aftermath of fiscal 2015’s West Coast port congestion.
Bon-Ton Stores (BONT), a department store chain with more than 260 stores across the country, rose 5.67% last month to end July at $1.49 per share.
Women’s retailer Bebe (BEBE) saw its stock jump 57.01% in July to end up at $0.79, following news that its recently forged partnership with Bluestar Alliance had yielded important extensions for the brand on a domestic and global scale.
Nordstrom shares (JWN) climbed 16.24% to close July at $44.36. It was a big month for the Seattle-based department store operator: Scott Meden was promoted from his position as general merchandise manager of shoes to the role to chief marketing officer; the company acquired a minority stake in DropShop Commerce and its Dsco platform; and plans were announced to add Madewell to the merchandise mix in 20 more stores.
Houston-based specialty retailer Stage Stores (SSI) closed July at $5.93, gaining 21.52% in the month.
Despite its Ann Taylor and Loft brands promoting 40 percent off sales—sometimes more—for much of the summer, Ascena Retail Group (ASNA) stock rose 16.31% in July to $8.13. Perhaps investors felt inspired by the news that American ready-to-wear designer (and Michelle Obama favorite) Prabal Gurung would be selling a limited-edition line at Ascena’s plus-size store Lane Bryant next March.
Off-price retailer Burlington (BURL) upgraded its second-quarter outlook on July 18, guiding an increase in comparable stores sales of between 4.2-4.5%. Shares closed the month at $76.51, up 14.69%.
Supermodel Karlie Kloss signed a long-term partnership to be a brand ambassador and creative consultant for Express (EXPR) late in July, and its stock capped off the month by gaining 3.1% to reach $14.96.