Retailers get hammered in early trading

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NEW YORK (AP) Department store retailers were getting hammered Thursday morning on Wall Street after posting lackluster holiday sales numbers.

Macy's shares are taking the biggest beating, down more than 18 percent in early trading.

Shares in Kohl's are down about 9 percent and Target and Nordstrom are sliding lower.

With low unemployment, rising wages and consumer confidence high, there had been optimism about holiday sales receipts.

But investors were disappointed as Macy's cut its full-year earnings and sales forecasts Thursday, and Kohl's said holiday sales fell sharply from the previous year.

The pessimism on Wall Street spread quickly from department stores to virtually all other retail sectors, including specialty, dollar stores, luxury, and athletic apparel.