Several retailers cut fourth-quarter profits after weak holiday sales

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Several major retailers slashed their fiscal fourth-quarter profit forecasts this week in the latest sign that Americans didn’t spend briskly during the holiday season.

American Eagle Outfitters and Bed Bath & Beyond are among seven retail chains that have cut their expectations for their fiscal fourth quarter, which includes the holiday shopping season.

During the holidays, many Americans were contending with the effects of a shaky economic recovery. Snowstorms across the country also kept some shoppers home. And the season was six days shorter, which meant less time to shop.

Retailers discounted early and often to attract shoppers. The discounts got people to spend — sales for November and December rose 2.7 per cent to $265.9 billion, according to data tracker ShopperTrak. But the price cuts ate away at retailers’ profits.