Retail Stocks Drop, Lululemon Down 17.5%

Pending departure of ceo Christine Day hits yoga firm’s stock hard.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. led fashion stocks down today on a relatively bearish day for the market.

This story first appeared in the June 12, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The popular producer of yoga gear dropped 17.5 percent to $67.85 after Christine Day said she would step down after five-and-a-half years of leading the company as chief executive officer. Day is staying on board until a replacement is found.

In the broader market, the S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group fell 0.8 percent, or 6.12 points, to 787.51, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.8 percent, or 116.57 points, to 15,122.02. Stocks are still near their all-time highs, but investors are worrying over when the Federal Reserve will deem the economy strong enough for it to tighten up monetary policy, raising interest rates.

Among the other decliners were Fifth & Pacific Cos. Inc., down 3.1 percent to $21.23; J.C. Penney Co. Inc., 3.1 percent to $18.12; Amazon.com Inc., 2.2 percent to $274.78, and Saks Inc., 2.2 percent to $14.44.

Markets were also in retreat in Europe, with the FTSE MIB in Milan leading the way.

The Italian market sank 1.6 percent to 16,286.60, followed by the CAC 40 in Paris, which was down 1.4 percent to 3,810.56. The DAX in Frankfurt fell 1 percent to 8,222.46 and the FTSE 100 in London declined 0.9 percent to 6,340.08.

The euro traded at $1.32 against the dollar, while the pound fetched $1.55 and the Swiss franc equaled $1.07.

Retail and luxury stocks were mostly down with the market. The day’s biggest decliners included Burberry Group, down 4.8 percent to 13.58 pounds; Mulberry Group, 3.8 percent to 9.42 pounds; Safilo Group, 4 percent to 14.97 euros, and Yoox, 3.8 percent to 16.65 euros.

Europe’s markets started the day on a sour note after the Bank of Japan said it would not rely on more stimulus measures to boost the economy.

And a case on the legality of the European Central Bank’s bond-buying program began today in Germany’s top court. The ECB measures have provided a boost to euro zone countries struggling with soaring interest rates, but those who brought the case argue that it’s tantamount to the European Union giving aid to troubled nations through an indirect route.