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Updated from 2:51 p.m. EST

There was more food for the bears Monday in the weekly sales reports of several big retail chains.


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Federated Department Stores


both said same-store sales were trending below expectations.

J.C. Penney

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said sales at its department stores were above its plan. But the company was less sanguine about its Eckerd drugstore chain, saying comparable-store sales there were below expectations.

After the close,


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said that while its same-store sales last week beat its expectations, its sales for the month are still coming in below plan. Same-store sales compare results at outlets open for more than one year.

The comparable store sales results follow what has been a mostly disappointing holiday season for retailers. On Monday, ShopperTrak RCT projected that retail sales this December at general merchandise, apparel, furniture and other related stores would grow by just 1% over last year, marking the slowest annual growth rate since September 2001. Last week, the retail research company estimated that that retail sales for such stores fell 11% for the entire holiday season compared with last year.

Meanwhile, even sales at online retailers, expected to grow by more than 20% this year, are coming in below projections.

Monday's same-store sales reports follow a post-Christmas warning last week from Wal-Mart that its sales were coming in below its expectations. Wal-Mart had previously projected that its same-store sales would grow 3% to 5% this month compared with last December; the company now expects sales to increase 2% to 3%.

Wal-Mart gave further details on Monday, saying that it expects its Wal-Mart division to post a same-store sales increase of 3%. But the company expects its Sam's Club wholesale stores division to post same-store sales declines in December.

The disappointing news came despite two days last week in which the retail behemoth had sales totaling more than $1 billion.

Target had similar news for investors on Monday. The Minneapolis-based discount chain planned for growth in comparable store sales of 3% to 5% this month. Sales last week were "well above" that plan, the company said Monday. But the results weren't good enough to rescue the month; instead, the company reiterated a

warning from earlier this month that sales for December are coming in "well below" its plan.

J.C. Penney too had some good and bad holiday news on Monday. The Plano, Texas-based company said its department stores will probably post same-store sales gains of 4.5% for December compared with a year ago. Penney had previously projected that its department stores would post comparable-store gains in the low single digits.

But J.C. Penney balanced that news with disappointing results from its drugstore division, which it had hoped would post same-store sales gains of 6% for the month. The company now says sales at Eckerd were coming in below that plan.

Meanwhile, J.C. Penney projected that sales at its catalog division would be down 20% for the month, roughly in line with expectations.

The news was all bad at Federated. The company, which operates Macy's and Bloomingdale's, had already said its same-store sales for November and December were coming in below its plan of no growth to a 2.5% decline.

On Monday, the company said that its comparable-store sales in December would come in at the bottom of that range, at around a 2.5% decline. For its combined November and December period, same-store sales are expected to drop 4.5%, the company said.

Last month, same-store sales at Federated dropped 7.4% over the same period last year. The company has been

suffering from widespread discounting this holiday season and a long-term trend of consumers turning to discount chains, such as Wal-Mart and Target, instead of department stores.