Retailers report fourth-quarter losses

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More bad news for the retail sector emerged today as Target Corp., Office Depot Inc. and Macy's all reported fourth-quarter losses.

Macy's saw its quarter net profit drop 59%, Target's profit plunged 41% and Office Depot reported a 15% decline.

Macy's sales fell 7.7% to $7.93 billion. The department store chain also posted an earnings drop for the three months ending January 31 to $310 million, or 73 cents a share, down from $750 million, or $1.73 a share, in the previous fourth quarter.

Discount retailer Target posted net earnings of $609 million, or 81 cents per share, for the quarter, also ending January 31. That's down from $1.03 billion, or $1.23 per diluted share, in the comparable period the previous year.

Company CEO Gregg Steinhafel cited “unprecedented economic conditions” for the drop in sales.

Office Depot reported a loss of $1.54 billion in the fourth quarter, which amounted to a loss of $5.64 per share for the three months, which ended December 27, in contrast to a profit of $18.8 million, or 7 cents per share, a year ago.

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