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Retail Stocks Drop for 5th Straight Day

Macy's down Tuesday in advance of first-quarter earnings report.

Retail stocks fell 0.9 percent Tuesday — the fifth straight decline for the sector poised to begin unveiling first-quarter results today when Macy’s Inc. issues its report card to investors.

This story first appeared in the May 13, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The S&P Retail Index fell 2.98 points to 324.89 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6 percent, or 50.34 points, to 8,469.11.

The Dow might have beaten the sector on Tuesday, but retail shares are still several lengths ahead for the year. So far in 2009, retail stocks are up 16.3 percent while the Dow has fallen 3.5 percent. After falling 0.1 percent Tuesday to 908.35, the S&P 500 is ahead 0.6 percent for the year.

Today the retail world’s focus will be on Macy’s, which analysts expect to post a loss of 20 cents a share, a deterioration from the 2 cents worth of red ink a year earlier, excluding charges. Shares of Macy’s fell 2.7 percent to $12.35 Tuesday. Liz Claiborne Inc., a key supplier to department stores that will also post results before the markets open, saw its stock fall 6.5 percent to $5.77. Claiborne is expected to post losses of 23 cents a share, following adjusted earnings of 28 cents a year earlier.

Other decliners Tuesday included Dillard’s Inc., down 6.1 percent to $7.74; Saks Inc., 5.1 percent to $3.95; AnnTaylor Stores Corp., 5 percent to $7.24, and J.C. Penney Co. Inc., 3.4 percent to $27.92. Among the more prominent advancers was Fossil Inc., up 9.2 percent to $21.55 after posting better-than-expected first-quarter results, and Swank Inc., which was up 47.5 percent to $1.49 in over-the-counter trading after reporting a reduced first-quarter loss on a 3 percent revenue decline.

Fashion stocks in Europe had a mixed day with Bulgari SpA down 5.1 percent to 4.03 euros, or $5.49; PPR off 2.1 percent to 58 euros, or $78.97, and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton inching up 0.03 percent to 59.02 euros, or $80.36.