For retailers, a tepid holiday season prompts a cautious approach to messaging

As shoppers move online—and away from brick-and-mortar stores—large chains’ optimism gives way to concerns about the sector. How, now, do they retain customers and investors?

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Some retailers are struggling to put a sunny cast on gloomy reports about holiday shopping.

Others, including Nordstrom, are laying it on the line as the sector grapples with an uncertain future.

Nordstrom missed targets and has announced it will adjust dividends to compensate. The news comes after other retailers, including Macy’s and Kohl’s, shared disappointing figures for the holidays.

Nordstrom wrote in a viscous press release:

While year-to-date comparable sales of 2.1 percent were in-line with the Company’s prior outlook of approximately 2 percent for fiscal 2018, Full-Price sales were below the Company’s expectations. As a result, the Company has incorporated in its annual expectations higher markdowns taken during holiday and to reposition inventory to a more appropriate level by the end of the year. Earnings per diluted share is expected to be around the low end of the Company’s prior outlook range of $3.27 to $3.37, including the third quarter estimated non-recurring credit-related charge of $0.28, or for comparability, $3.55 to $3.65, excluding the impact of the charge.

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