Many large U.S. retailers slashed their earnings forecasts because of steep discounts they offered during the holidays to persuade reluctant consumers.
The discounts boosted overall industry sales but hurt profits at many chains, including L Brands, Family Dollar Stores, and teen retailer Zumiez. Even retailers that reported big sales gains, like Kay Jewelers parent Signet Jewelers, were not spared.
Fewer store visits and aggressive pricing at the start of the season by big retailers like Amazon.com and Wal-Mart Stores left many chains with little choice but to offer sweeter deals. Many also had too much holiday merchandise, which was ordered in late spring when retail executives were feeling upbeat.
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