"We think Macy's emerged a winner from this promotional holiday period, and [it] remains our top department store pick," said Morgan Stanley analyst Kimberly Greenberger.
Same-store sales at Gap rose 1 percent in the holiday selling period, which analysts attributed to compelling promotions and trend-right merchandise. The company reiterated its yearly guidance of $2.57 to $2.65 per share, and said it is comfortable delivering at the high end of that range.
"The company managed the business well during a difficult and highly promotional holiday selling season for many," said Richard Jaffe, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus. "With sales nearly in-line with plan, we believe inventory is well controlled with little excess merchandise to be cleared in January, enabling Gap to start spring with a clean and fresh assortment."
Abercrombie & Fitch
A surprise winner this holiday was struggling teen retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, which slashed prices down to 50 percent off the whole store throughout the season. The company raised its full-year guidance to $1.55 to $1.65 per share, up from $1.40 to $1.50.
Analysts cited the company's online sales gain of 25 percent, which helped offset weakness at its physical stores. They also said that significant markdowns allowed the retailer to come into the new year with well-controlled inventory levels.
(Read more: Retailers' biggest problem right now? The sale bin)
Still, although the retailer beat expectations, its same-store sales declined 6 percent.
"We continue to believe Abercrombie & Fitch needs to reposition its brands in order to resonate with a new generation of consumers, which could take years," Morgan Stanley's Greenberger said.
New York & Company
Women's specialty retailer New York & Company reaffirmed its fourth-quarter earnings guidance after reporting that same-store sales for the holiday period rose 1 percent.
(Read more: JC Penney closing 33 stores, slashing 2,000 jobs)
CEO Gregory Scott said he was "pleased" with the retailer's performance given the challenging retail environment.
Athletic retailer Finish Line said in its most recent earnings call that same-store sales rose in the mid-single-digit range, and guidance inferred that the stores' fourth-quarter comparable sales will also increase in that range, according to Sterne Agee analyst Sam Poser.
"Current trends in basketball and running footwear, led by Nike, continue to accelerate beyond our expectations," Poser said, adding that sales in its Macy's shop-in-shops "remain robust."
—By CNBC's Krystina Gustafson. Follow her on Twitter