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Retailers' stocks mixed in morning trading after report of sales increases

Stocks of several retailers leapt this morning on a report of modest sales increases for December.

TJX Co. and Sears Holdings Corp. each had sharp gains, up 5.5% and 10.8% respectively at noon Eastern time.

Retailers reported a 2.9% increase in sales compared to December 2008, according to data from 30 major chain stores released by Thomson Reuters today. All retail sectors, excluding drugstores, beat expectations.

TJX, which owns the TJ Maxx and Marshalls chains, saw sales boom 14%. The stock rose $2.06, from $37.16 to $39.22, in morning trading. Sears Holdings jumped $9.59, from $88.87 to $98.46. Off-price seller Ross Stores Inc. was also a strong performer, with a sales increase of 12%. The stock jumped 4.4%, up $1.95 to $46.09.

Some retailers, however, had lackluster stock performance despite good news on the sales side. Luxury seller Saks Inc. far outstripped expectations with a 9.9% gain but watched its stock fall 2.3%, down 17 cents to $7.27.

San Francisco-based Gap Inc. had a sales increase of 2%. But the parent of the Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy chains also had a 2.8% stock drop, down 60 cents to $20.44.

Teen retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co. continued its months-long sales slump with a 19% dive. The stock followed suit with a 7.2% slide, down $2.59 to $33.62.

-- Tiffany Hsu
 
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