The study, which captured approximately 28.5% of all apparelsales in the United States, found that J.C. Penney appeared to leadin pricing power during the Spring season with a 2.8% pricingincrease with prices up by 4.5% in March and 4.7% in April beforelosing momentum in May when pricing showed a 1% increase. PiperJaffray said the company's commitment to its denim inventory, whichhad strong consumer appeal, helped the firm benefit more than itscompetitors in terms of pricing during the Spring season.

Target also fared well on the pricing forefront, showingconsistent strength during the same three month period. The studyfound that Target delivered the greatest pricing increases overallduring the period with pricing up 4.8%. The company also was themost consistent during that period despite fluctuations in overallsame-store sales. Piper Jaffray said Target's success is largelydue to its "trend right branded products" which are aimed at ahigher income customer than some of its discount competitors.

At Kohl's, promotional pricing trends were down 1.9% for thethree-month period but showed a significant improvement over theprior year, the study said. Although the company displayed lowerpricing trends than its competitors, Piper Jaffray said the firmmay have had more seasonal products than its peers during thespring season, leading to pricing pressure due to the period'sunfavorable weather. Despite the slight decline over last year,Piper Jaffray said it was encouraged by Kohl's improving top linetrends and its assortment of trend right national and prioritybrands.

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