Target plays to strength, combining digital sales and stores

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):

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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