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Tickers in this Article: GPS, ANF, AEO, JWN, TIF, LTD, YUM, MCD
Year to date, the S&P 500 is up 4%, and that's after a bit of a pullback in the last 10 days or so. That being said, some analysts are calling for 2011 to be a sideways market, with the markets finishing the year relatively close to where they started it. If that is the case, augmenting your portfolio's returns with dividends will be all the more important. While most will pull a screen to find dividend paying companies with some upward price potential as well, we have a much simpler approach - hit the mall. Let's take a walk through your local shopping center and take a look at some of the companies paying shareholders to hold their stock.

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The Hip, Young Retailers
Getting the ball rolling, we'll follow the teens and twenty-somethings into a few of the bigger names in any mall's eco-system. While some will argue that The Gap (NYSE:GPS) may not be the "coolest" name out there for young, hip fashionistas, there's no arguing the fact that the company is one of the pillars of retail apparel. The Gap pays a 1.8% dividend yield, trades at a PE of 12.5 and is trading flat thus far in 2011.

Two other names that fit the dividend bill and compete closely with The Gap are Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) and American Eagle (NYSE:AEO). Abercrombie offers shareholders a 1.75% yield, while American Eagle pays out 2.9%. However, when it comes to recent performance, ANF has pummeled AEO. Abercrombie shares have surged 55% in the past year on strong earnings and ever-improving sales, while American Eagle has trended down 10% over the same period, with some analysts believing the once hot retailer has lost its cache with the oh-so picky teen crowd.

A Little Luxury
Next we'll take a bit of a step-up in profile and shop around for some pricier and more "luxurious" items. The luxury sector has performed quite well in the past year or so and high-end department store Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) is no exception. Up close to 60% from its 52-week low and 5% in 2011 thus far, Nordstrom has seen high and mid-level consumers return to its counters to purchase more discretionary items. Nordstrom pays out a 1.8% dividend and trades at a PE of 16.

Limited Brands (NYSE:LTD), the name behind underwear icon Victoria's Secret, also offers a healthy dividend of 2.5%. Limited recently announced strong fourth quarter earnings and sales and guidance suggesting that retail traffic should remain relatively strong through 2011. On the heels of the earnings announcement, Piper Jaffray raised their price target for Limited to $38, which would be a 18% gain from where the stock sits at this moment.

Along with high-end retailers and department stores, jewelers have enjoyed a return to prominence recently, and there's no bigger name in the jewelry game than Tiffany (NYSE:TIF). The jeweler's stock has been on fire since this past summer, up 60% as consumers stormed their counters during the holiday season. We'll have to wait a bit to see how Valentine's Day sales fared, so current shareholders are keeping their fingers crossed that consumers didn't shop themselves out over the holidays.

Let's Grab A Bite
We've hit the trendy retailers, department stores and jewelers, and we've worked up an appetite. Luckily, the food court has plenty of options for the hungry dividend investor as well. The two biggest fast food names in the world not only serve up billions in sales every year, but payout a substantial amount in dividends as well. McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) and YUM Brands (NYSE:YUM) yield 3.25% and 2% respectively. Both have also performed very well in the past year, returning 20% and 45% respectively, as both companies have managed to increase both their top and bottom lines and grow their brands across the globe in the process.

Bottom Line
We just found several large-cap companies in our local mall that pay shareholders to hold their stock. While not every stock would be considered a strong buy option, they still should be on the radar for dividend investors looking for exposure to the retail sector. (To learn more, see Analyzing Retail Stocks.)

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