NEW YORK — A surge in oil prices and the growing conflict in the Middle East contributed to a chill in trading on Friday. Major indices finished the week down amid concerns that consumers seem to be pulling back on their spending.

The S&P 500 closed the week down 2.3 percent to 1,236.19 from 1,265.48 in the previous week. In the retail sector, the WWD Composite Stock Index also ended the week down 4.7 percent to 1,020.73 from 1,071.23 a week ago.

The July 14 issue of the Kiplinger Letter, which contains forecasts to aid management decision making, is predicting that back-to-school and holiday sales will suffer this year as shoppers pare purchases. “Gains will be about 2 percent and 3 percent, respectively. Even heavy discounting isn’t likely to shake loose a lot of spending,” according to the publication.

Reduced spending is not likely to be an issue for private equity firms. On Friday, Petco Animal Supplies Inc. agreed to be acquired by private equity firms Leonard Green & Partners and Texas Pacific Group in a deal valued at $1.8 billion, including assumed debt, or $29 a share in cash.

Meanwhile, two former retail executives whose focus was the retail and apparel sector are leaving the apparel sphere. George L. Jones, the former head of Saks Inc.‘s department store group, on Thursday joined bookseller Borders Group Inc. as its new president and chief executive officer.

A week ago, Julian Day, the former Kmart Holding Corp. president and ceo, joined electronics firm RadioShack Corp. as chairman and ceo.

Jones’ new post means he won’t be looking to buy Saks’ Parisian business in a joint bid with Freeman Spogli, a private equity firm. Belk Inc. has been the front-runner to buy the business from Saks.

This story first appeared in the July 17, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Weekly % Changes
(Ending July 14)
Gainers
Decliners
Close
Change
 
Close
Change
Harold’s Stores
0.62
14.81
Wilsons Leather
3.37
-12.01
Talbots
19.45
11.91
Revlon
1.15
-11.54
G-III
10.61
8.60
Mothers Work
30.76
-10.66
Foot Locker
26.53
6.80
Oxford
35.46
-9.79
Quiksilver
12.79
6.23
Nordstrom
33.44
-9.50
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