DOW SLIDE ON TUESDAY TAKES TOLL ON APPAREL RETAIL ISSUES

Byline: Thomas Cunningham

NEW YORK — Several apparel retailers were badly buffeted in a volatile market Tuesday as as the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 57.09 to close at 11,164.84.
A Monday court ruling that software giant Microsoft engaged in anticompetitive practices triggered a sell-off that started in technology stocks but soon spread. At one point in the day, the Dow was down 504.15 points from Monday’s close, although it was pushed back up by a spate of late-afternoon buying.
At its nadir Tuesday, the technology-heavy Nasdaq index was off 574.57, or 13.6 percent, although it too rallied to close down 74.79, or 1.8 percent, at 4,148.89.
The technology sell-off affected Internet-related fashion issues, as catalog and online retailer Lands’ End fell 3 3/16 to 53 3/4. Also closing lower were online off-pricer Bluefly, down 1 5/16 to 7; Styleclick, 1 1/4 to 10 1/2; Fashionmall, 11/16 to 3 1/16; Alloy Online, 3/8 to 16, and ITurf, 55/64 to 8 3/4.
Teen-oriented retailers also had a tough day, as American Eagle Outfitters fell 3 5/64 to 30 63/64 after Robertson Stephens downgraded the stock to “long-term attractive” from “buy.” Other teen retailers down on the day were Abercrombie & Fitch, off 1 to 14 3/4; Wet Seal, 5/32 to 15 3/32; Hot Topic, 1 5/8 to 34 1/4; Urban Outfitters, 33/64 to 13 55/64, and Delia’s, 3/16 to 5.
Among other specialty stores, Talbots fell 2 1/2 to 58 13/16; Limited tumbled 2 1/4 to 41 3/16, and Intimate Brands, 1 11/16 to 39 15/16. Plus-size retailer Braun’s Fashions dropped 1 3/16 to 22 7/8.
Luxury stocks also suffered as Tiffany declined 2 to 81; Gucci, 1 3/8 to 87 and Zale, 2 1/8 to 46 11/16.
Fast-growing department store chain Kohl’s fell 4 1/2 to 99 5/8, and several other department stores and discounters were also punished in Tuesday’s roller-coaster ride of a market. Federated gave up 2 13/16 to 39 15/16; Sears, Roebuck, 1 11/16 to 30 1/2; May, 1 3/4 at 28 3/4; Wal-Mart, 1 3/16 to 60, and Target, 1 11/16 to 75 5/16.
On the bright side, Nordstrom gained 5/8 to 30 15/16 after Chase H & Q upgraded the stock to “buy” from “market perform.” Gap picked up 1 13/256 to 51 13/256; Chicos FAS rose 1 7/16 to 19; teen accessories retailer Claire’s Stores jumped 1 5/16 to 20 13/16, and athletic retailer Footstar gained 1 3/8 to 29 15/16.
Performance among vendors was mixed. Guess slid 1 3/8 to 29 5/16, and Charlotte Russe fell 1 1/2 to 15 1/2. Closing higher were McNaughton Apparel Group, up 1 1/8 to 9 11/16; Reebok, up 2 3/16 to 11 5/8, and Avon, up 1 1/2 to 31 5/8.