5 Need-To-Know Business Stories from the Week

Holiday Shoppers
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Retail sales, Galliano’s kinda-sorta-triumphant return to fashion and Target breaks up with Canada: We rounded up the biggest business stories of the week.

Stop panicking: Despite a December sales slowdown, the holidays look like they were okay.

Just when economists thought it was safe, consumers clobbered the market with an unexpected pullback on spending in December. Gas prices and lower prices generally are likely to blame, but it still sent a wave of disappointment through market watchers. How strong is the economic recovery? That’s up for debate. But if anyone wants to talk holidays, the National Retail Federation says not to fear: Looks like holiday sales came in at $616.1 billion.

Target cuts its losses and leaves Canada.

A cautionary tale for other U.S. retailers: The Great White North might not be all it’s cracked up to be. Target’s disastrous misadventure is costing it over $7 billion. Investors and analysts lauded the tough move by CEO Brian Cornell to end it and move on — the stock soared Thursday on the news.

Ski resorts love snow, obviously.

Winter 2013-14 left ski resorts high and dry, while the polar vortex sent boot sales around the rest of the country soaring. What does 2015 have in store? A much better season for most, apparently, starting with that nice fresh blanket of snow in time for the holidays. Fingers crossed for Sundance and March.

John Galliano returns to fashion. What’s next for Margiela?

It was a bit of a quiet return considering the show had its own hashtag: #MargielaMonday. Right in the middle of men’s Fashion Weeks, names from Manolo Blahnik to Alber Elbaz crowded in to see the return of John Galliano. It’s been several years since the disgraced designer was booted from fashion house Dior after his infamous anti-Semitic rant. The biggest question: What can Galliano bring to a rebranded and refreshed Maison Margiela? Let’s hope some pep.

Reebok runs free (range).

The Adidas-owned brand has struggled in recent years to find a winning identity and resonance with consumers. Now, Reebok is aiming to capture more athletic dollars. Can a plucky little chicken right off the farm encourage athletes to “Live Free Range”? The jury’s still out, but it’s the kind of shakeup in marketing that the brand (and Adidas) needed.