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Business Kohl's, Penney report holiday sales declines

Kohl’s, Penney report holiday sales declines

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NEW YORK (AP) — Mall-based retailers J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and Victoria’s Secret parent reported sales declines for the holiday season, underscoring continued challenges ahead from online rivals and other low-price competitors.

The sales releases, issued Thursday, come one day after Macy’s reported a small decline in holiday sales, though it was better than what investors feared. J.C. Penney says sales at stores opened at least a year dropped 7.5% for the November and December period. Adjusted results, including the impact of the chain’s exit from major appliances and furniture at its stores, decreased 5.3%. Kohl’s posted a 0.2% decline.

At L Brands, which operates Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, the figure dropped 3%. The company also cut its fourth-quarter profit outlook, saying that it expects to report earnings per share of $1.85. It had previously said that it would earn $2 per share in the quarter.

The weak results come as overall retail sales are expected to have increased for the holidays, boosted by a strong economy. However, the divide between the winners and losers is widening. Discounters, feeling pressure from online behemoth Amazon, have been speeding up their deliveries and sprucing up their assortments. Stores like T.J. Maxx, which offer deep discounts on coveted brands, also have been resonating with shoppers. But mall-based retailers have been too slow to react to the increasing competition.

In morning trading, J.C. Penney and Kohl’s shares both dropped around 8% while L Brands stock added nearly 2%.

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