High gas prices could have shifted consumers to shopping atwholesale clubs, since those outlets sell fuel as well as items inbulk, allowing consumers to buy more items at once and make fewertrips. As a result, wholesale clubs performed better than anysector, posting a 10% surge, with Costco leading the way at11%.

Apparel chains did not fare as well, though, inching up 0.6%.Gap Inc. fell 6%, while Talbots dropped 5.1% and Limited Brandsslid 2%. But Abercrombie & Fitch had another strong showing, up21%, and Chico's FAS posted a 15.8% gain.

Department stores continued to have mixed results. Luxury chainslike Neiman Marcus, which shot up by 9.6%, and Nordstrom, rising4.1%, performed well. But Dillards dropped 1% and Kohl's slipped0.2%.

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