Many of retail's woes in 2015 can be attributed to one category: Apparel. Whether it was delayed shipments from the West Coast port strikes in the first half, sluggish sales of cold-weather apparel during the unseasonably warm winter months, or consumers refusing to pay full price for clothing, specialty apparel and department stores bore the brunt of the bruising.
In 2015, shares of Macy's slid 47 percent, Nordstrom dropped 33 percent and Kohl's stock declined 22 percent. Among the specialty set, Gap shares fell 41 percent, and Urban Outfitters dropped 35 percent.
Last month, Morgan Stanley downgraded both the specialty retail and department store categories to "cautious" from "in-line."
"2015 illustrated that department stores continue to donate share to off-price, fast-fashion and online pure-play competitors [Amazon], extending nearly three decades of market share losses," Morgan Stanley said. "We expect 2016 to be another disappointing year."