The holiday season serves as a strong indicator for the health of the retail sector. The eight weeks from the beginning of November to the end of the year can be make-or-break for many companies.

Retailers this week, and especially Thursday, were having a tough go of it, particularly Macy's Inc. (M) , which reported holiday numbers that failed to impress and also lowered its fiscal-year guidance. 

The company said it now expects comparable-store sales to increase 2% in the year, down from its previous estimate of between 2.3% and 2.5%. Net sales are now expected to be flat year over year, down from the previous estimate of a 0.3% to 0.7% increase, Macy's said.

Earnings are expected be between $3.95 and $4 a share, lower than its previous expectations of earnings between $4.10 and $4.30.

Shares of Macy's fell 17.7% on Thursday. 

Here are some others:

Shares of L Brands Inc. (LB)  were down more than 4% after the company said that net sales during the holiday season fell below analysts' expectations

J.C. Penney Inc. (JCP) shares fell 4.5% after reporting earlier in the week that holiday season same-store sales fell 3.5% year over year. 

Target Corp. (TGT) shares declined 2.9% despite reporting stronger-than-expected holiday sales while also forecasting that it will see double-digit adjusted earnings growth in the fiscal year.

Shares of Action Alerts PLUS holding Kohl's Corp. (KSS)  fell 4.7% even after lifting fiscal-year guidance after it reported same-store sales growth was softer than a year earlier.  

Shares of Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST)  rose 0.4% after the big box retailer said that U.S. same store sales rose 7.5% in December.

Meanwhile, shares of Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLDQ)  were up 22.1% to 48 cents after former CEO Edward Lampert raised his bid for the company by $663 million to over $5 billion. 

Value retailer and Action Alerts PLUS holding Five Below Inc. (FIVE) are up 2.6%

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