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Somber department store holiday season casts pall over 2017

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NEW YORK (AP) — A cheerless holiday season has rolled over into the new year at the nation’s largest department stores, which are cutting jobs, profit expectations and closing scores of locations.

Macy’s and Kohl’s reported falling sales at established stores during the crucial holiday season late Wednesday which sent investors fleeing shares of companies across the entire sector. Shares of Kohl’s Corp. plunged 18 percent in early trading Thursday and Macy’s Inc. slumped 13 percent.

Also on Thursday, Sears announced the closings of some 150 stores, 109 of them Kmart locations, to stem losses. It also said it was selling its well-known Craftsman brand to Stanley Black & Decker to raise cash.

Macy’s Inc., Kohl’s Corp., J.C. Penney Co. Sears Holdings Corp. and others are all attempting to navigate a new retail landscape in which the magnetic north is now Amazon.com.

On the same day that Macy’s said it was cutting 10,000 jobs and moving forward on plans to close 68 stores, Amazon said its Fulfillment by Amazon service delivered more than 2 billion items for sellers globally last year. During the holiday season, the amount of Fulfillment by Amazon items shipped worldwide climbed more than 50 percent.

Shares of Dillard’s Inc. fell 6 percent, J.C. Penny Co. fell more than 7 percent and Nordstrom Inc. slumped 8 percent. Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are also falling.

Delaware Macy’s and Sears stores were not on the lists of closings.

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