What happened

A reopening economy and a better national jobs picture helped boost the confidence of investors who are focusing on business getting back to normal, and not on the continued displacement occurring in large cities as protests and riots break out.

Shares of apparel retailers were rising fast in late-day trading on Wednesday, with Foot Locker (NYSE:FL) up 7%, Hanesbrands (NYSE:HBI) jumping nearly 11%, and Under Armour (NYSE:UA)(NYSE:UAA) almost 9% higher.

So what

Retailers, especially apparel companies, have borne a heavy load under the forced closures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic because they were deemed nonessential businesses. While rivals like Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT) were allowed to stay open because they also sold food, they continued selling apparel, sporting goods, and other merchandise that the specialty retailers were prohibited from remaining open and selling themselves.

Basketball player ready to make a slam dunk

Athletic wear may be helping three apparel retailers soar today. Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Although the retail giants were given a competitive advantage during the pandemic, many apparel retailers maintained engagement with consumers through their e-commerce platforms. And now with physical storefronts opening up again, there is hope they have weathered the storm and can begin growing again.

It may not be coincidental that these three companies were specifically enjoying strong stock gains today as all have an athletic-wear component to them. Working out and exercise have gained popularity during the lockdown, and it may stick once we're allowed to get back to our normal daily routines.