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U.S. Retail Stocks Tick Down

Earnings strength at Burlington, Cherokee and Christopher & Banks lifts their shares.

Retail stocks and the broader market treaded water while strong earnings reports from Burlington Stores Inc., Christopher & Banks Corp. and Cherokee Inc. scored large gains.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group fell less than 0.1 percent to 893.68, in step with the S&P 500, which contracted at the same rate to close at 1,950.79. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day at 16,945.92 to eke out an increase that was also less than 0.1 percent.

Cherokee notched the largest gain among the fashion, retail and beauty stocks tracked by WWD, rising 12.1 percent to $15.55, and hitting a 52-week high of $16.91 in midday trading, after its first-quarter profits came in 18 cents higher than expected at 43 cents a diluted share on a 23.7 percent increase in royalty revenues to $10 million.

Christopher & Banks had the second largest gain of the day, up 9.6 percent to $7.29, after its Q1 earnings of 7 cents a diluted share more than tripled the consensus estimate for a 2-cent profit and gross margin improved to 36.7 percent of sales from 34.2 percent a year ago.

Burlington was up 5.3 percent to $29.67 on its performance in Q1 performance and guidance for second-quarter and full-year results above Wall Street views.

Chico’s FAS Inc. logged the third largest gain of the day, rising 7.6 percent to $16.53, after the Financial Times reported it had held talks with private equity firms interested in a stake or outright acquisition of the firm. Oxford Industries Inc. shares were up 5.4 percent to $72.47 in advance of the release of its first-quarter financial results. While those results exceeded estimates, guidance fell short of it, sending shares down slightly in after-hours trading.

Urban Outfitters Inc. had the largest decline in the WWD sample, falling 3.7 percent to $33.39, with investors apparently discouraged by its disclosure on Monday night that, in the second quarter to date, comparable sales in its retail segment were “approximately flat,” an indication that the Urban Outfitters brand was continuing to struggle.

Coach Inc. and The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. shares both contracted 3.1 percent, to $39.58 and $10.12, respectively.

The major European markets ended their trading sessions up, with the exception of the FTSE 100 in London, which was down less than 0.1 percent to 6,873.55.

However, the DAX in Frankfurt rose 0.2 percent to 10,028.80 while the CAC 40 in Paris and FTSE MIB in Milan both rose 0.1 percent to 4,595.00 and 22,502.97, respectively.

Among retail and luxury stocks, Aeffe SpA was up 10.5 percent to 1.30 euros and Asos rose 3.2 percent to 33.02 pounds.

Among only a few companies losing ground were Ted Baker, down 4.2 percent to 19.35 pounds, and Next plc, off 1.7 percent to 65.15 pounds following the announcement that group product director Christos Angelides is leaving in September to become brand president for the Abercrombie & Fitch and abercrombie kids brands of Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

The euro traded for $1.36 against the U.S. dollar and the pound for $1.68.