Retail stocks gained for the second-straight session Tuesday, perking up 1.3 percent on a day of steady gains for Wall Street generally.

This story first appeared in the June 16, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The S&P Retail Index rose 5.53 points to 441.69 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 2.1 percent, or 213.88 points, to close at 10,404.77.

The retail sector was held back by weaker-than-expected first-quarter results from electronics chain Best Buy Co. Inc., which saw its stock fall 6.1 percent. Retail gainers included American Apparel Inc., up 6.8 percent to $2.03; Nordstrom Inc., 3.8 percent to $40.30, and Guess Inc., 2.5 percent to $36.37.

Shares of Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. fell $1.73, or 2.1 percent, to end Tuesday’s New York Stock Exchange session at $82.44 on the day following the company’s disclosure that Ralph Lauren, chairman and chief executive officer of the company he founded 43 years ago, would sell about a quarter of his Class B voting shares in a transaction that could add more than $900 million to his personal worth. A spokesman for the firm said the pricing of the offering should be disclosed soon.

A total of about 11.35 million Class B shares will be converted to Class A stock and sold to the public or back to the company, with 1.35 million shares reserved for the underwriters to cover overallotments. (For more on Lauren’s wealth, see chart.)

Investors have been keeping a close watch to see if consumers feel comfortable enough spending to keep the economy in recovery mode. But shoppers are running warm and cold.

Last week’s same-store sales fell 0.7 percent from the preceding week, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs weekly sales index, released Tuesday. The index rose 0.8 percent for the week ended June 5 and 0.6 percent for the week ended May 29.

“The weekly pace appears to be a bit more volatile than in recent weeks,” said Michael Niemira, director of research and chief economist at the International Council of Shopping Centers.

It was an unusually calm day in global markets, which have been jittery as traders have tried to gauge the strength of the U.S. recovery, the fallout of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and Europe’s debt travails.

European investors nudged the CAC 40 up 1 percent to 3,661.51 in Paris as the DAX rose 0.8 percent to 6,175.05 in Frankfurt and the FTSE 100 advanced 0.3 percent to 5,217.82 in London.

Markets were even quieter in Asia with the Nikkei 225 up 0.1 percent to 9,887.89 in Tokyo and the Hang Seng Index ahead 0.1 percent to 20.062.15 in Hong Kong.


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