By  on October 31, 2008

Retail shares staged a muscular rally Friday despite new evidence of a slowdown in consumer spending, putting an exclamation point on a strong week at the end of the market’s worst month in more than two decades.

A 4.2 percent increase on Friday landed the Standard & Poor’s Retail Index just above the 300 mark, 21.6 percent ahead of their finish last Friday but 17.1 percent off their 362.44 resting point on Sept. 30.
 
Double-digit percentage gains, such as Dillard’s 15.1 percent pickup to $5.33, were commonplace, giving a number of retailers a chance to recover recent lost ground. Among the biggest gainers were Christopher & Banks (up 19.2 percent to $5.22), Charlotte Russe (up 14 percent to $8.45) and department store operators Bon-Ton Stores (up 13.7 percent to $2.24), Nordstrom (up 12.8 percent to $18.04) and J.C. Penney (up 11.3 percent to $23.92).
 
Friday’s trading session followed a familiar pattern as a strong afternoon rally was nearly erased in the final hour of the session. 

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