January 10, 2017, 1:05 PM

Holiday online sales for Hudson’s Bay jump 14% but can’t overcome store declines

The parent of Saks Fifth Avenue, joining the ranks of other department store chains, adjusts its outlook after posting slower holiday sales.

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(Bloomberg)—Hudson’s Bay Co., the Canadian department-store giant that owns Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, reported a dismal holiday season and cut its forecast, sending shares down sharply.

The company now expects sales of C$14.4 billion ($10.9 billion) to C$14.6 billion this fiscal year, according to a statement on Monday. It had previously forecast as much as C$14.9 billion for the period, which runs through January. Hudson’s Bay is No. 75 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide.

Online sales increased 21.7% year over year at HBC’s department store banners, the company says, but declines at most of its stores resulted in an overall same-store sales decline of 0.7% during the last nine weeks of the calendar year, when the company was counting on Christmas shoppers to fuel growth. Including Gilt, online sales for HBC increased 14.7%, the retailer said. The company reported the metrics as adjusted for currency fluctuations.

The broader department-store industry had a disappointing season, with a shift to e-commerce and specialty shops weighing on sales. Macy’s Inc. (No. 6), the market leader, cut its forecast last week and pushed ahead with a plan to cut about 10,000 jobs.

“While we were pleased with our performance at Hudson’s Bay in Canada, the retail environment has remained challenging in the U.S. and Europe,” HBC CEO Jerry Storch said in the statement. He blamed heavy discounting and the decline of the euro against the Canadian dollar, which has hurt sales coming from Europe.

The stock tumbled as much as 13% to C$10.16 in Toronto on Tuesday, marking its biggest intraday decline since December 2015. The shares are now trading at the lowest level since their initial public offering in 2012.

Ann Taylor

HBC isn’t the only retailer bringing bad holiday tidings this week. Ascena Retail Group Inc. (No. 76) cut its outlook after slow customer traffic forced the company to deepen discounts. Shares of the retailer, which owns the Ann Taylor women’s apparel brand, plunged as much as 16% to $5.07.

“We are positioning our full-year outlook assuming that the trend we experienced through holiday continues,” Ascena CEO David Jaffe said in a statement Tuesday.

Last week, Macy’s, Kohl’s Corp. (No. 19) and J.C. Penney Co. (No. 33) all reported slow holiday sales. Neiman Marcus Group (No. 36), meanwhile, abandoned its plans to go public.

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