By  on December 11, 2008

Retail shares were on the rise again Wednesday, outpacing the market with a 2.9 percent gain.

The Standard & Poor’s Retail Index added 8.01 points to cross the finish line at 286.58 — still down 35.7 percent from its 52-week high. The index had enjoyed five consecutive sessions of increases before declining on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average spent most of the day in positive territory and ultimately advanced 0.8 percent, or 70.09 points, to 8,761.42 as lawmakers continued to hammer out a rescue plan for automakers.

AnnTaylor Stores Corp. proved to be the retail winner in the day’s stock rally, rising 21.9 percent to $6.40 despite no revelations from the company. Charming Shoppes Inc. managed a 17.7 percent rise to $1.66, also without any news disclosures.

Other specialty stores showing strong, but lesser gains included Destination Maternity Corp., formerly Mothers Work Inc., up 7.8 percent to $8.47; Abercrombie & Fitch Co., 6.6 percent to $21.22; The Dress Barn Inc., 6.1 percent to $9.35; Coach Inc., 6 percent to $21.24, and Zale Corp., 5.6 percent to $4.17.

Investors didn’t shy away from selling. Such was the case for Frederick’s of Hollywood Group Inc., which reported wider first-quarter losses. The lingerie retailer-manufacturer saw shares fall 17.9 percent to 23 cents. Gottschalks Inc. shares took a 33.7 percent drubbing to land at 30.5 cents. Shares of The Talbots Inc. slid 10 percent to $2.17.

On the vendor side, investors favored shares of Liz Claiborne Inc., which advanced 16.2 percent to $3.02.

Among the other vendors on the rise were Quiksilver Inc., up 11.2 percent to $1.59; Perry Ellis International Inc., 10.9 percent to $6.90; Jones Apparel Group Inc., 6.4 percent to $6.19; Columbia Sportswear Co., 4.6 percent to $36.70, and Kenneth Cole Productions Inc., 3.9 percent to $9.53.

On the other side of the ledger, Oxford Industries Inc.’s stock declined 14.4 percent to $5.67 after the company posted lower third-quarter earnings and reduced its full-year profit guidance.

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