1. Unemployment Ticks Down; Wages Stagnate
The U.S. added 295,000 new jobs in February, bringing the unemployment rate down to 5.5 percent, the lowest it’s been since mid-2008. While the news was welcomed by economists, wages continued to stagnate during the month. Wages grew 0.1 percent in February, a disappointing result compared with January’s 0.5 percent bump. The news leaves the ball back in the Fed’s court to finally make a decision about interest rates and inflation.
2. Soho Shoe Buzz
Toms opened its first East Coast outpost in Soho this week. The store features a coffee shop (brewing Toms Roast Co., naturally) and an outdoor patio as well as the brand’s shoes, eyeglasses and the new handbag line.
Right next door, Bucket Feet also officially opened its first permanent New York home. The Chicago-based company teams up with artists to create special edition footwear. The new store will carry the entire Bucket Feet line and will become a dedicated space for a new artist each month — highlighting not just the collection they’ve designed but also a mural they will create for the space.
3. Executive Moves At Columbia, Palladium
Sorel got it’s first president this week as Columbia continues to seriously invest in one of its fastest-growing brands. Columbia Sportswear announced other executive moves as well.
Heritage shoe brand Palladium named Timothy Nickloff senior director of sales in North America. He will report to Neal Dellocono, general manager of the Americas. He joins the boot brand from Emerica, where he was global brand director and acting brand president.
4. Thalia Sodi on Track at Macy’s
The Mexican superstar lends her eye for style to her debut collection, exclusively at Macy’s, this month. The retailer has tested the new line of shoes, accessories and apparel in-store and received highly positive consumer response, according to executives. It’s sure to help the retail giant further tap the all-important Latino market.
5. Foot Locker Rolls in the Money
The athletic retailer continues to knock it out of the park in the tough retail market, reporting annual sales growth of 10 percent ($7.15 billion) compared with the prior year. Later this month, new CEO Richard Johnson will lay out his growth plans for the company for the next five years.