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An Unexpected Present for Traditional Retail Stocks

Reuters, Times staff

For once, shares of brick-and-mortar retailers stole the show from their e-tailing rivals on Monday, after consumers filled the malls over the weekend.

News of robust holiday sales of big-screen TVs and flashy apparel helped push shares of many traditional retailers higher, while Internet stocks in general pulled back after powerful recent gains.

“Consumer electronics and apparel are the real stories. These two categories tend to be sensitive to the economy, and the economy is still booming,” said Alan Mak, analyst at Argus Research.

Though some investors may ask why it should surprise Wall Street that consumers have plenty of money to spend, the market appeared stunned enough to send electronics retailer Best Buy Co. up $8.75 to $66.63 and rival Tandy Corp. up $4.31 to $77.44.

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Among apparel retailers, AnnTaylor Stores Corp. jumped $4.19 to $45.31, Federated Department Stores Inc. rose $3.06 to $45.63 and Limited Inc. gained $2.19 to $41.69.

Other big retail gainers included Dayton Hudson Corp., up $4.25 to $71; Gap Inc., up $2.44 to $41.38; and Abercrombie & Fitch Co., up $2.63 to $32.

Still, many traditional retail stocks remain well below their 1999 highs, analysts note.


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