Macy's (M - Get Report) woes just got a whole lot worse.

Before Thursday's market open, Macy's reported first-quarter earnings of 24 cents a share, a far cry from the earnings of 36 cents a share analysts surveyed at Factset were expecting. The retailer's revenue declined 7.5 percent to $5.34 billion, compared to Wall Street's estimates for $5.48 billion.

The struggling mall-based retailer also saw its same-store sales drop 5.2 percent for the three months ended April 29, its transactions decline 7.5 percent and inventory was higher by 1 percent compared to the fourth quarter. Macy's said it saw increased pressure on its watch sales, a troubling trend that led to Fossil's (FOSL - Get Report) disastrous first quarter.

Shares of Macy's plunged nearly 16 percent to $24.57 in afternoon trading. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT - Get Report) fell 2.2 percent to $43.09.

For the full year, Macy's still expects its same-store sales to decrease between 2 percent and 3 percent, its total revenue to fall between 3.2 percent and 4.3 percent and to generate earnings of $3.37 to $3.62 a share.

Newly-appointed Macy's CEO Jeff Gennette, who took over on March 23, told TheStreet in a recent interview, as he toured the country holding town halls with Macy's employees, that his "mission" for 2017 is to "right the core business and set the foundation for future growth."

"What we are trying to reinforce is that what we recognize is different than in other bad business cycles we have been through," Gennette said. "We are talking about the differences between cyclical changes and fundamental changes."

On a company earnings call Gennette said "we don't have all the answers yet" but he learned a lot from his town hall meetings with employees. He said Macy's will be focused on "stabilizing our bricks-and-mortar stores while growing mobile and digital" offerings.

"We believe we have the right strategy to achieve what we set out to do in 2017," Gennette said, such as expanding the retailer's exclusivity with brands like Tommy Hilfiger and DKNY and improving its in-store experience by making checkout, for example, easier.

Meanwhile, Macy's, in response to an analyst's question about acquiring smaller retailers, company CFO Karen Hoguet said on the call that "we are always exploring all options."

In January, Macy's said it was working to close 68 under-performing stores in an effort to shutter 100 more by the end of the year, of which benefits from will start to be realized in the second quarter. The retailer is also shrinking its square footage at some of its larger buildings.

Macy's is one of 20 battered retailers including J.C. Penney (JCP - Get Report) and Sears (SHLD) , by TheStreet's count, who have been forced to shutter massive amounts of stores due to declining mall traffic, the rising cost of rent and wages and heightened pressure from e-commerce giants like Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) .

In response to an analyst's question on the threat of Amazon, Gennette said its products, experience, exclusivity and still "staying very aggressive in digital" will allow Macy's to "win."

"I think that with respect to the competition, there are aspects of the department store that are as relevant as ever," Gennette said.

Still, he said "we know we need to move faster" and "that is a huge priority for me."

Although not as bad as Macy's quarter, Kohl's (KSS - Get Report) said Thursday that same-store sales declined for the fifth straight quarter. Earnings came in better than expected, however. 

Don't miss these trending stories on TheStreet: