Holiday discounting hit retailers' bottom lines

U.S. retailers are expected to see their earnings decline 6.1% on average for the holiday quarter on heavy discounting, marking the first quarterly profit drop since the end of the recession in 2009, according to Retail Metrics. For some, including department store chains J.C. Penney and Sears, reported losses were less than many analysts predicted. Other retailers, including Target and Macy's, say they are seeing signs of a spring pickup in sales.

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