Department store stocks are getting crushed

Mall shopping saleJoshua Lott/Getty ImagesShoppers walk past a retail shop at Somerset Collection shopping mall in Troy, Michigan.

The stocks of many department stores are getting rocked in trading on Thursday after some of the flagship brick-and-mortar stores reported weak holiday sales.

Both Macy’s and Kohl’s reported 2.1% declines for holiday sales (sales during the months of November and December) from the year before and both stores downgraded their forecasts for the upcoming quarter.

The worry over these lacklustre sales seems to have spread to other names in the sector as many other major department stores are sliding in trading on Thursday. Those names include (as of 11:07 a.m. ET):

  • JC Penney: -6.3%
  • Nordstrom: -8.9%
  • Macy’s: -14.4%
  • Kohl’s: -18.9%
  • Dillards: -10.2%

While large department stores are struggling, discount retailers such as Ross Stores and TJX are faring much better, with their stocks down roughly in line with the broader market.

These concerns also seem to reflect a long-term downshift for these mall anchors that have seen their business model challenged by online retailers such as Amazon. Even holiday hiring for these retailers has hit the lowest level since the Great Recession.

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