Department stores, mall chains continue losing customers

The strong U.S. economy and the holiday season wasn’t enough to boost all retailers during the key selling season, with Macy’s and other mall-based stores continuing to lose customers to discounters and e-commerce, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Shares of Macy’s Inc. were down almost 19% in morning trading today as the department store lowered its full-year guidance following weak December sales. Rival Kohl’s and mall stalwart Victoria’s Secret owner L Brands also posted tepid holiday sales, triggering a broad-based sell off in retail stocks.

“The holiday season began strong—particularly during Black Friday and the following Cyber Week, but weakened in the mid-December period,” said Macy’s Chief Executive Jeff Gennette.

The negative sentiment even weighed on discounters like Target Corp. and Costco Wholesale Corp., which reported strong holiday sales. Those chains, which are less dependent on apparel, and Amazon.com Inc. have been taking market share from department stores.

“The rising tide of retail sales hasn’t floated all boats,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of research firm GlobalData. “We are seeing a polarization between winners and losers.” Read the full story.

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