Retail shares continued their comeback Wednesday, even as the first indications about August sales results left much to be desired. The Standard & Poor’s Retail Index registered a 1.6 percent increase, to 414.27, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up just 0.1 percent to 11,532.88. The S&P 500 was off 0.2 percent and the Nasdaq Composite declined 0.7 percent. Jos. A. Bank rallied late in the day, closing with an 11.4 percent increase to $28.69 after reporting a second-quarter earnings increase that beat analysts’ estimates. J.C. Penney and Kohl’s had gains — 2.5
percent and 2.8 percent, respectively — despite reporting lower comparable-store sales, a reflection of the emphasis investors are placing on inventory discipline. Zumiez reported a small comp gain for August after the close of the markets and was up 7.4 percent; Hot Topic was down for August, but its shares rose 6.2 percent. European fashion shares were sluggish, with most issues finishing the session down. Among the exceptions were Safilo Group, which ended Wednesday’s trading in Milan with an increase of 4.7 percent, and Tod’s and IT Holding, which both closed with 2 percent gains. Among other luxury issues, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton was down 3.1 percent and PPR off 2.8 percent on the Paris Bourse.
* Editor’s note: European stocks are quoted in the currency of their principal exchanges. Shares on the London Stock Exchange are quoted in pence, Richemont and The Swatch Group are quoted in Swiss francs and Hennes & Mauritz is quoted in Swedish kronor. All other European stocks are in euros.