Business

Retailers of all stripes sing holiday blues

Discounts appear to have cut into retailers’ profits during the holidays.
Discounts appear to have cut into retailers’ profits during the holidays.Lucas Jackson/Reuters/File 2013

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Several major retailers slashed their fiscal fourth-quarter profit forecasts this week in the latest sign that Americans didn’t spend briskly during the holiday shopping season.

American Eagle Outfitters and Bed Bath & Beyond are among seven retail chains so far that have cut their expectations for their fiscal fourth quarter, which includes the critical holiday shopping season when stores can make up to 40 percent of their annual sales.

The holiday season was challenging for stores as many Americans still were contending with the effects of a shaky economic recovery. Weather was also an issue, as snowstorms across the country kept some shoppers home. And the season was six days shorter, which meant less time for people to shop.

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