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Yule Shortfall Hurts U.S. Retail Shares

Teen retailers take worst of 1.7% drop in store stock group.

Retail shares in the U.S. dropped nearly 2 percent as disappointment over holiday sales merged with ongoing anxiety about the approach of the fiscal cliff.

The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group was down 11.2 points, or 1.7 percent, to 642.87 while, in the broader market, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 24.49 points, or 0.2 percent, to 13,114.59. The S&P 500 slid 6.83 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,419.83.

Declines were sharpest in, although hardly relegated to, the teen specialty retail sector. Shares of Hot Topic Inc. were off 5.9 percent to $9.41 while Aéropostale Inc., Zumiez Inc. and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. saw theirs drop 4.7, 4.5, and 4.1 percent, respectively, to $12.48, $18.53 and $19.65. Vertical luxury brands Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. and Coach Inc. had selloffs of 6.6 and 5.9 percent, respectively, to close at $50.03 and $54.13.
 

Broadlines retailers posted smaller declines, with one of the few exceptions to the downward drift coming from J.C. Penney Co. Inc., whose shares rose 4.4 percent to $20.75. Saks Inc. and Nordstrom Inc. were off 3.8 and 2 percent, respectively, for the day, to $10.22 and $51.40. Stage Stores Inc., a strong same-store sales performer in recent months, weathered a 6.6 percent selloff to close at $23.10.
 

Word of clearance activity in Target Corp.’s promotion of designer merchandise with Neiman Marcus made only a small dent in Target’s performance. Its shares were down 0.6 percent to $59.21. Neiman’s is privately held.

U.K. markets were closed for Boxing Day Wednesday while other European and most Asian markets were shuttered in extended observance of Christmas.