What happened

Shares of several apparel and home-goods retailers were moving up on Friday, as stores continued to reopen in parts of the United States and restrictions on retail activity eased.

Here's where these four companies' stocks ended when the market closed on Friday.

So what

There wasn't any specific news report that drove these stocks higher on Friday. Rather, they seem to have risen along with investors' optimism that the U.S. economy might return to something like normal before long.

A Gap sign outside of a store.

Gap will begin reopening its stores this weekend. Image source: Gap.

Retail-focused investors have been waiting for signs of recovery since these four companies (and many others) closed their brick-and-mortar stores in March. While all of these companies have managed to make up some of the lost sales via their online storefronts, all are losing a lot of money right now. 

Where do things stand with their stores?

  • Bed Bath & Beyond said on April 24 that it will keep most of its stores closed until at least May 16. In the meanwhile, it has converted about a quarter of its shuttered stores into regional fulfillment centers to support a big jump in its online sales.
  • Designer Brands' CEO Roger Rawlins said that nearly 200 of the company's big-box shoe stores reopened in the U.S. and Canada last week. More will follow in phases as state, provincial, and local governments allow, he said. Stores will be deep-cleaned before reopening, and employees will follow elaborate procedures to keep themselves and customers safe.
  • Gap outlined its plan to reopen stores on May 6. It expects to have "up to 800" stores open by the end of May, starting with some locations in Texas this weekend. Like Designer Brands, Gap's stores will follow elaborate procedures around cleaning and distancing to keep employees and customers safe.
  • Urban Outfitters hasn't yet announced its plans to reopen stores. 

Now what

I expect that Urban Outfitters will outline its reopening plans during the conference call following its fiscal first-quarter earnings release on May 19. Bed Bath & Beyond reported earnings on April 15. Gap and Designer Brands haven't yet announced dates for their next earnings reports, but both have reported in late May in past years. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.