Fashion Retailing Beckoned When Stock Analysis Soured

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Fashion Retailing Beckoned When Stock Analysis Soured

"Career change" is hardly an adequate way to describe Lacy McNaron Shockley's move from bank stock analyst on Wall Street to the world of haute couture.

"I traded Wall Street for Seventh Avenue," she said during a recent conversation.

When least year's crash in bank equities made analysts' recommendations look way off the mark, more than half a dozen analysts -- including Ms. Shockley -- lost their jobs. Most eventually shifted to other investment firms or into similar kinds of work.

But after her departure from New York's Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co., Ms. Shockley, 45, concluded that continuing consolidation would make jobs in the banking industry even scarcer. So she decided against staying in securities analysis or moving into areas like investor relations.

Instead, she now owns and runs a women's apparel shop called Lacy's at the Two Greenville Crossing shopping center in Greenville, Del., an affluent suburb of Wilmington.

Host of Designers Represented

The shop offers fashions by such designers as Tamatsu, Robert David Morton, Jeanne Marc, Helen Hsu, Eugene Alexander, and Noviello Bloom. She makes a trip to New York's garment district once or twice a month to keep track of the latest design trends.

It was a big change from a 20-year career that included stops at Fidelity Management and Research, the huge Boston mutual fund concern; McKinsey & Co., the management consulting firm; and half a dozen securities firms in Washington, Philadelphia, and New York.

Before joining Smith Barney she followed East Coast banking stocks for Butcher & Singer, the Philadelphia firm since merged with Wheat First Securities, and for Mabon Nugent & Co. …