Retail Stocks Up 3.3%

Recent job cuts bolster store shares.

Wall Street on Tuesday registered its approval of recent cost-cutting measures by stores, sending retail shares up 3.3 percent.

This story first appeared in the February 4, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The Standard & Poor’s Retail Index locked in an 8.49 point rise, to 267.66, and its percentage gain by far eclipsed the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s 1.8 percent advance, which put it back above the 8,000 benchmark at 8,078.36. The S&P 500 rose 1.6 percent to 838.51, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.5 percent to 1,516.30.

After surprising the retail market with its job cuts of 7,000 and consolidation moves on Monday, Macy’s Inc. shares picked up 24 cents, or 2.8 percent, to close at $8.83, with volume at nearly 20.5 million shares, about 50 percent heavier than usual. Among other recent job eliminators, those pulling off increases on Tuesday included Christopher & Banks Corp., up 47 cents, or 11.3 percent, to $4.63; Chico’s FAS Inc., up 23 cents, or 6.2 percent, to $3.92, and The Wet Seal Inc., ahead 2 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $2.65. While Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. was unchanged at $1.24, three of the firms paring payrolls in the past week had declines — Eddie Bauer Holdings Inc., down 9 cents, or 11.5 percent, to 69 cents; The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., down 8 cents, or 5.9 percent, to $1.27, and Sears Holdings Corp., down 11 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $39.80.

Liz Claiborne Inc., which unveiled 725 job cuts of its own on Tuesday, saw its shares rise 17 cents, or 8.4 percent, to $2.20, and its cost-saving measures appeared to boost the shares of many of its fellow vendors as well.