NEW YORK -- Many retail stocks rode the back of yesterday's market rally to produce robust gains.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 86 points Tuesday to 3,679 - its biggest one-day gain since 1991.

Among the big winners were Ann Taylor Stores Corp., rising 2 3/8 to 34; The Gap Inc., climbing 2 5/8 to 46 1/4; Nordstrom Inc., up 2 3/8 to 42 1/8, The Limited Inc., gaining 1 to 21 3/8, and Talbots Inc., 3 3/8 to 32 3/4.

Other notable gainers included J.C. Penney Co., 2 3/4 to 56 1/2; Sears, Roebuck & Co., 2 3/8 to 46 5/8; May Department Stores Inc., 2 1/4 to 42 7/8, Dillard Department Stores Inc., 1 3/4 to 34 3/8; Mercantile Stores Corp., 2 7/8 to 39 7/8; TJX Cos. Inc., 1 3/4 to 14 3/4; Dayton Hudson Corp., 3 to 76 1/4, and Caldor Corp., 1 1/4 to 32 1/8.

Even Woolworth Corp. recovered 1 3/4 to 14 3/4, after losing about 30 percent in the last two weeks amid its disclosure of an investigation into accounting irregularities.

Many retail gains may have reflected Wall Street's expectations of strong sales for the month of March.

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