Retail Stocks End Week Up Almost 2%

Commerce Department raised its estimate for U.S. economic growth in third quarter.

Retail stocks moved higher on Wall Street today after the Commerce Department boosted its estimate for third-quarter growth in the U.S. economy.

The new reading of the nation’s GDP, which showed growth of 4.1 percent instead of the 3.6 percent previously projected, followed the Federal Reserve’s commitment earlier in the week to make only a modest cutback in its bond-buying program. The Fed also committed to keeping a low federal funds rate.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group responded with a 0.3 percent gain to 931.88, putting its advance for the week at 1.9 percent and its gains since the start of the year at 42.7 percent.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average also advanced 0.3 percent, to 16,221.14, while the S&P 500 did slightly better, moving ahead 0.5 percent to 1,818.32.

Leading the charge among fashion, retail and beauty equities tracked by WWD was Christopher & Banks Corp., up 11.4 percent to $8.97. Its shares have appreciated 38.4 percent since its disclosed higher third-quarter profits on Dec. 4. Shares of American Apparel Inc. rose 10 percent to $1.21 while Zumiez Inc.’s shares improved 6.7 percent to $26.37. The Finish Line Inc. saw its shares gain 6.2 percent, to $27.77, following better-than-expected third-quarter profits and sales which were accompanied by an elevation for full-year earnings.

Among only a handful of fashion stocks with declines were The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., off 3 percent to $17.24, and Nike Inc., down 1.2 percent. Nike late Thursday reported second-quarter earnings that outpaced Wall Street’s expectations, although North American sales were slightly weaker than anticipated.

European markets also ended the week on a positive note.

The DAX in Frankfurt climbed 0.7 percent to 9,400.18, just outpacing the FTSE MIB in Milan, which rose 0.6 percent to 18,565.61. The CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.4 percent to 4,193.77 while the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.3 percent to 6,606.58.

Britons also received encouraging news about the pace of economic growth. The U.K.’s Office for National Statistics reported gross domestic product for the third quarter rose 0.8 percent compared with the previous quarter, and was up 1.9 percent compared with the same period last year.

It was a mixed day for Europe’s fashion, luxury and retail stocks. Among those finishing ahead were Brunello Cucinelli, up 2.5 percent to 26.08 euros; Aeffe, 2.9 percent to 0.63 euros following disclosure of a distribution deal in Japan, and Burberry, which rose 1 percent to 14.65 pounds.

Those that fell included Safilo Group, down 2 percent to 16.82 euros and Mulberry Group, 1.8 percent to 9.38 pounds.

The euro traded for $1.34 against the U.S. dollar, while the pound went for $1.64.