Even another drop in crude oil prices wasn’t sufficient to help Wall Street overcome news of languid August retail sales and higher unemployment claims. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 344.65 points, or 3 percent, to end Thursday’s bearish session at 11,188.23, and retail stocks helped lead the market downward, with the Standard & Poor’s Retail Index relinquishing 3.1 percent of its value to end at 401.44. Among the firms escaping the southerly drift

were Collective Brands, which advanced 11.6 percent on the strength of a better-than-expected second quarter, and American Apparel, which bucked the dismal sales trends of August with a 31 percent same-store increase. Despite the sector’s difficulty last month, several specialty stores were among the strongest performers, including Hot Topic (up 4.6 percent), Caché (up 3.9 percent), Buckle (3.7 percent), Mothers Work (up 3.3 percent) and American Eagle Outfitters (up 3 percent). Of this group, only Buckle and Mothers Work had a same-store increase in August. European stocks also moved lower, with some larger declines coming from Safilo Group (down 6.6 percent) and Marks & Spencer (down 5.4 percent). Unilever advanced 5.8 percent in Amsterdam trading on the news that Paul Polman, executive vice president, will be proposed to succeed Patrick Cescau as group chief executive.

* 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.

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