Department stores fall sharply in early trading after posting lackluster holiday sales figures

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on retail sales (all times local):

10:40 a.m.

Department store retailers are getting hammered this morning on Wall Street after posting lackluster holiday sales numbers.

Macy’s shares are taking the biggest beating, down more than 18 percent in early trading. Shares in Kohl’s are down about 9 percent and Target and Nordstrom are sliding lower.

With low unemployment, rising wages and consumer confidence high, there had been optimism about holiday sales receipts.

But investors were disappointed as Macy’s cut its full-year earnings and sales forecasts Thursday, and Kohl’s said holiday sales fell sharply from the previous year.

The pessimism on Wall Street spread quickly from department stores to virtually all other retail sectors, including specialty, dollar stores, luxury, and athletic apparel.

9:25 a.m.

Unemployment hasn’t been so low in years, wages are rising, consumer confidence is high and gasoline is cheap, creating high expectations for department stores this holiday season.

That’s not what investors got in numbers released Thursday.

Department stores fell sharply before the opening bell Thursday, with bellwether Macy’s down nearly 19 percent after posting worse-than-expected holiday sales.

The Cincinnati company also cut its full-year earnings and sales forecasts. The chain reported that same-store sales rose about 1 percent during November-December.

Chairman and CEO Jeff Gennette said in a statement that holiday sales started out strong during Black Friday and Cyber Week, but softened in mid-December before picking up steam the week of Christmas.

Associated Press

Associated Press

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