By  on October 6, 2009

Retail shares rose 1.4 percent Monday — only the second increase for the sector during the last 10 trading sessions — as investors turned their attention toward September same-store sales reports due out Thursday.

The S&P Retail Index rose 4.95 points to 372.34. Retail shares slid 1.3 percent last week as the U.S. unemployment rate hit 9.8 percent, lender CIT Group Inc. flirted with bankruptcy a second time and investors reconsidered their positions because of continuing consumer weakness.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 1.2 percent, or 112.08 points, to 9,599.75, on Monday.

September same-store sales, expected to benefit from a later Labor Day and comparisons with the onset of the credit crisis a year ago, should give investors vital intelligence about consumers as stores prepare for the fourth quarter and holiday.

Shoppers are likely to hold back on purchases until the job market strengthens, which might not be until the middle of next year or later, according to economists.

The Conference Board said Monday its Employment Trends Index inched up 0.3 percent in August to 88.5. It was the first rise since January 2008.

Gad Levanon, the research group’s senior economist, said the general trend of fewer job losses would hold, even though pink slips actually increased last month. “But the road to recovery is definitely going to be bumpy and may last unusually long, given the depth of the recession we have experienced,” he said.

Broadline retailers were among the strongest gainers, with The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. up 10.1 percent to $7; Nordstrom Inc., 9.5 percent to $31.71; Dillard’s Inc., 7.6 percent to $14.10; Macy’s Inc., 5.2 percent to $18.30, and J.C. Penney Co. Inc., 4.3 percent to $34.37.

Apparel producers on the upswing included Jones Apparel Group Inc., ahead 6.5 percent to $17.76; Oxford Industries Inc., 6.2 percent to $20.07; Perry Ellis International Inc., 6.1 percent to $15.60, and Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., 4.1 percent to $42.32.

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