Here’s a sentence you don’t see too often anymore: US stocks began the day on the frontfoot buoyed by a rally in department store shares.

The S&P 500 rose 0.4 per cent to 2,183.03, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.4 per cent to 18,575.85.

The rally in US stocks came as Macy’s said the decline in same-store sales slowed for the first time in six quarters. Like-for-like sales slowed to 2.6 per cent in the second quarter, from 6.1 per cent in the first.

Moreover, the department store unveiled plans to shutter 100 stores as it seeks to grow profitability.

The news pushed Macy’s shares 15 per cent higher and ignited a rally in shares of retailers. The S&P 500 consumer discretionary sector rose 0.9 per cent and was the best performing of the 10 major sectors on the benchmark index. The narrower S&P 500 department store index, which includes just Macy’s, Nordstrom and Kohl’s rose nearly 13 per cent.

Shares in Kohl’s, which lowered its profit outlook but reported better than expect second quarter results, jumped 15 per cent to $43.83. Meanwhile, Nordstrom, which is slated to report results after the bell, rose 8 per cent.

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