AP News

Retailers' shares up slightly as spending rises

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of some retailers rose slightly Thursday after the Commerce Department reported that retail sales in November edged up 0.3 percent.

The Commerce Department said Americans spent more online as the two-month holiday shopping season kicked off, and in the Northeast spent more replacing cars and rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy.

The sales results are a good sign for stores since they can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue during the holidays.

Retailers' shares were higher as the major indexes declined. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 31 points at 13,214 in afternoon trading. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was down five points at 1,423. The Nasdaq composite index was down nine at 3,005.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 specialty retail index rose 1 percent.

Caris & Co analyst Dorothy Lakner said retail sales appear to be brisk in December, too. She said that after multiple mall checks heading into the final half of the month, her view is positive.

"We saw relatively full parking lots even during the week and shoppers carrying multiples bags as they left the mall," she said.

Teen store American Eagle Outfitters is doing particularly well, she said, with lines at the register and a strong assortment of woven and knit tops, jeans and aerie underwear.

American Eagle shares slipped 17 cents to $20.71.

Her other top picks are Gap Inc. and Nordstrom Inc. Gap shares rose 11 cents to $31.54 and Nordstrom rose 11 cents to $52.22.

Other retailer's shares were little changed. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. shares rose 31 cents to $69.25. Target shares were up 55 cents to $61.09. Abercrombie & Fitch rose 33 cents to $46.59.

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