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U.S. retail stocks slide on Black Friday as new virus worries arise

Nov 26 (Reuters) – Shares of U.S. department-store operators slid on Friday as the detection of a new coronavirus variant presumably proof against present vaccines compounded woes stemming from low in-store visits and skinny vacation season inventories.

Retailers have turned Black Friday, which kicks off the vacation purchasing season, right into a month-long occasion this 12 months within the face of provide chain hiccups and a labor squeeze, with prospects preferring to buy on-line for the reason that pandemic started final 12 months.

Macy’s Inc (M.N) shed 6%, whereas Kohl’s Corp (KSS.N) and Nordstrom Inc (JWN.N) dropped about 3.5% every.

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The S&P 500 (.SPX) slumped 0.8% as the new COVID-19 variant prompted border tightening within the European Union, Britain and different international locations, and despatched buyers flocking to safer property. learn extra

Little is thought of the variant, detected in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong, however scientists say it has an uncommon mixture of mutations, might be able to evade immune responses and may very well be extra transmissible.

“A state of panic around the new COVID variant is terrible news for retailers hoping people would go into their stores to snap up Black Friday deals,” mentioned Russ Mould, funding director at AJ Bell.

U.S. attire retailers Guess Inc (GES.N), American Eagle Outfitters Inc (AEO.N), Abercrombie & Fitch Co (ANF.N), Nike Inc (NKE.N), Gap Inc (GPS.N) and Lululemon Athletica Inc (LULU.O) dropped between 2% and 6.6%.

“With people getting back into physical stores and making purchases earlier in the holiday season, demand is smoothing out beyond the typical peak shopping days,” mentioned Rob Garf, vp and common supervisor of retail at Salesforce.

The S&P retailing index (.SPXRT) slipped 0.2%, coming off an all-time excessive hit simply final week.

“I wouldn’t be surprised that if, at least for today, and until we get more information about this new variant, the virus would be reason to sell some retail stocks,” mentioned Sam Stovall, chief funding strategist at CFRA Research in New York.

The world’s greatest e-commerce firm Amazon.com (AMZN.O) edged up 0.6%. learn extra

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Reporting by Medha Singh and Bansari Mayur Kamdar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.

People wait in line at Macy's before Black Friday sales in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 26, 2021. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

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