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Lululemon Among Retail Stock Leaders

American Apparel, J.C. Penney log declines as retail index rises.

Retail shares began the week with a gain today as the market’s attention turned to company founders trying to work their way back into positions of leadership.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group rose 0.3 percent to 890.72, a better performance than the small declines registered by the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500, which both dipped less than 0.1 percent to end the day at 16,937.26 and 1,962.61.

Among the stronger gains among retail, fashion and beauty equities tracked by WWD was Lululemon Athletica Inc.’s 2.5 percent increase to $41.25 following published reports that founder and former chairman Chip Wilson, unsuccessful in his attempt last week to deprive chairman Michael Casey and director RoAnn Costin of reelection to the company’s board, was joining with Goldman Sachs to explore a board shake-up through other means and possibly an acquisition of the firm with private equity partners.

With speculation growing that ousted American Apparel Inc. founder and former chief executive officer Dov Charney might be taking legal action to regain his position, shares of the firm retreated 2.5 percent to 67 cents. The company confirmed Monday that it had hired Peter J. Solomon Co. to advise it while co-chairman Allan Mayer said the company wasn’t for sale.

Larger declines came from Lands’ End Inc., down 3.8 percent to $33.31; J.C. Penney Co. Inc., 3.4 percent to $8.69; Chirstopher & Banks Corp., 3.3 percent to $8.16, and Sears Holdings Corp., 3.1 percent to $39.73.

Penney’s said early in the day that it had closed on $2.35 billion in financing that provides better pricing and later maturities than the facility the new package replaces.  The new facility matures in 2019 versus the April 2016 due date for the prior arrangement.

In addition to Lululemon, fashion firms in the plus column for the day included Movado Group Inc., up 3.5 percent to $42.85; The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., up 2.5 percent to $10.53; Ascena Retail Group Inc., up 1.6 percent to $17.18, and Abercrombie & Fitch Co., up 1.3 percent to $43.33.

Earlier in the day, Europe’s markets trended lower, with the FTSE MIB in Milan falling the most, closing down 1.3 percent to 21,694.75. The DAX in Frankfurt fell 0.7 percent to 9,920.92 and the CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.6 percent to 4,515.57. The FTSE 100 in London fell 0.4 percent to 6,800.56.
 
It turned into a mostly downbeat day for fashion, luxury and retail stocks in the region, too.
 
Those that fell included Boohoo.com, down 4.7 percent to 45 pence; Debenhams, which lost 3.1 percent to 69 pence; Koovs, down 1.8 percent to 1.40 pounds, and Tod’s, which fell 1.2 percent to 92.65 euros.
 
Among the few to register gains were Hennes & Mauritz, up 1.7 percent to 294.00 Swedish kroner; The Mysale Group, which rose 2.5 percent to 2.13 pounds, and Mulberry, which climbed 5.6 percent to 7.40 pounds.
 
The pound traded for $1.70 against the U.S. dollar, while the euro changed hands for $1.36 and the Swedish krona for $0.15.