It was a tough holiday at the mall.
Shares of Macy's, L Brands, and Barnes & Noble were selling off Thursday, in wake of disappointing holiday sales. ForMacy's, the report of a difficult holiday season was coupled with more details about planned store closures and news about layoffs. Sears also announced store closures and the sale of its Craftsman business.
Many retailers reported choppiness in the all-important holiday selling season, with consumers slowing their shopping — particularly in early December — more than expected. Despite a spike at the end of the season, RetailNext data gathered from hundreds of stores found that sales and traffic fell double-digits.
That's despite several recent reads on the holiday that pointed to stronger results. They include a report from Mastercard SpendingPulse, which recorded sales growth of 4 percent. Greater numbers of shoppers shifted their sales online, resulting in a record performance, and the big beneficiary of that trend was Amazon.
"Weak holiday sales results for Macy's and Kohl's reflect the continued secular challenges that plague the department store industry," said Christina Boni, a Moody's vice president and senior analyst, in a research note. "We expect the shift of purchases to alternative channels such as online and the off-price channel to continue in 2017. Lean inventories entering fourth quarter were not enough to support profitability targets at either Macy's or Kohl's given the disappointing sales performance."
To see how the holiday results are shaping up for the retail sector, here's all the numbers at a glance.
Brands include Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Van Heusen, IZOD, Warner's, Speedo, Olga
Slice Intelligence scan of more than 4 million email receipts determined:
—CNBC's Sarah Whitten, Christina Cheddar Berk, and Krystina Gustafson contributed to this report.
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Bath & Body Works comps were up 3 percent.