WALL STREET REWARDS RETAILERS WITH GOOD COMP-STORE SALES
NEW YORK — One day after retailers reported disheartening June results, Wall Street expressed its confidence in those stores that either avoided the “June swoon” or appeared best positioned to escape the pall of fall.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average leaped 154.51, or 1.5 percent, to 10,635.98 Friday, and the Nasdaq jumped even higher, finishing the week with a 1.6 percent increase to close up 62.63 at 4,023.20.
Gains were registered across a wide berth of stocks, with retailers focused on home goods and electronics reaping some of the day’s biggest gains.
But a significant number of apparel-related retail issues shared in the stock run-up. Chico’s F.A.S., among the fastest-growing apparel specialists with a 28.0 percent increase in June same-store sales, came back on Friday with a 14.6 percent increase in its stock price, up 3 1/16 to 24, just below its 52-week high.
Hot Topic followed a 19.7 percent comp gain in May with a 25.4 percent increase for June. Its shares rose 5/8, or 2.0 percent, to 32 3/8 as the week ended. With its 52-week high at 37 7/16, it is, like Chico’s, one of only a handful of retail stocks trading in the vicinity of its peak.
Kohl’s hit a new 52-week high Friday after reporting a 5 percent increase in comp-store sales for last month. Its stock moved up 3 5/8, or 6.4 percent, to 60 1/16.
Talbots’ comps climbed 16.5 percent, and its stock followed the upward path, closing at 57 1/2, up 4 9/16 or 8.6 percent.
The Limited Inc. and its retail spinoffs all had good days on Friday. Limited, with same-store sales up 6 percent in June, closed at 23 3/16, ahead 1 5/16 or 6.0 percent. Intimate Brands enjoyed a 9.0 increase in comps for June as well as a 1 11/16, or 8.3 percent, increase in its stock price, closing at 22, on Friday. Comps declined 4.0 percent at Abercrombie & Fitch, but its shares rose 1/2, or 3.5 percent, to end the week at 14 7/8.
Gap Stores’ comps were off 2.0 percent last month, the same percentage as the month before, but investors seem buoyed both by gains registered at Gap’s domestic stores and by the message delivered by Gap chief executive officer Mickey Drexler in a conference call Thursday. Although Gap lowered earnings expectations for the current quarter, the directions indicated by Drexler helped lift Gap shares 2 1/8, or 6.4 percent, to 35 1/2.
Federated reported a nominal increase in June comps — 0.5 percent — but expressed concern over consumer credit delinquency. Federated closed down 11/16, or 2.3 percent, at 28 15/16. May Department Stores’ comps were off more significantly — 1.4 percent — but its shares moved ahead 1 3/8, or 5.6 percent, to close at 26.
Among the inhabitants of the luxury market, Neiman Marcus Group saw June comps rise 17.3 percent, and its stock was up 5/8, or 2.2 percent, to 29 5/8. Although not among those reporting same-store sales, Tiffany had a near breakthrough day on Wall Street as its shares rose 6 9/16, or 10.0 percent, for a 72 5/8 price at the bell.
American Eagle Outfitters’ June same-store sales dropped 5.3 percent, but its shares headed in the opposite direction Friday, finishing ahead 3/8, or 3 percent, at 13 1/16. Bebe’s comps were down 16.5 percent, but its stock rose 4.6 percent, or 3/8, to close at 8 5/8 anyway. Pacific Sunwear’s June comps fell 0.1 percent, but the relative smallness of the decline was taken as a positive sign as Pac Sun was up 1 1/2, or 8.1 percent, to 19 15/16.
Braun’s June comps were up 17.0 percent, but its stock dropped 1 3/4, or 4.8 percent , on Friday to close at 34 5/8.