The Latest: Analyst says colliding events hit Macy's

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FILE - This June 29, 2016 file photo shows a Target store in Hialeah, Fla. Target shoppers took full advantage of the retailer’s pickup and drive up services over the holiday season, climbing 60 percent from a year earlier and making up a quarter of the chain’s online sales for the November-December period. Target Corp. also announced Thursday, Jan. 9, 2019 that sales at stores open at least a year increased 5.7 percent in the period, up from 3.4 percent a year earlier. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

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

12:30 p.m.

A prominent retail analyst says that the shift to online spending as well as the volatile stock market hurt Macy's during the holiday. Sales numbers released Thursday are sending shares of the retailer down by more than 18 percent.

Ken Perkins of Retail Metrics says the two combined elements were an obstruction for Macy's during the most critical period of the year for retailers.

With low unemployment, rising wages and consumer confidence high, there had been optimism about holiday sales receipts. But investors were caught off guard when Macy's cut its full-year earnings and sales forecasts. Kohl's also reported sales numbers that were far inferior compared with last year.

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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.

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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. 

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