Target Corporation (TGT), Kohl's Corporation (KSS), J.C. Penney Company Inc. (JCP), Macy's Inc. (M) and other major retailers succeeded in boosting holiday sales—and fending off Amazon—by leveraging innovative strategies and investing in ecommerce. Target, for example, learned from its weak 2016 sales results by introducing new brands, remodeling stores and cutting prices, according to The Wall Street Journal. (For more, see also: The Four R's of Investing in Retail.

Kohl's, which also benefited from rising sales, generated these improvements by producing higher in-store traffic and greater digital demand, according to a second article by the Journal. J.C. Penney Company was buoyed by a double-digit gain in its ecommerce business. These retailers also benefited from rosy consumer sentiment and a robust economy, said analysts. 

Impressive Stock Gains

For their efforts, some retailers have been rewarded with notable gains in their stock prices. Shares of Kohl's, for example, have risen 22.5% between December 1 and the close of trading on January 10, according to Google Finance. Shares of Target and J.C. Penney have also climbed, increasing 18.9% and 17.9% in that time. 

Retailer Headwinds

In spite of this recent performance, retailers are facing notable headwinds now that the holidays are over. While many traditional retailers are focusing on improving their online operations in order to have a presence both in stores and online, these efforts may not ensure their survival. Physical retail stores have been coping with declining foot traffic. 

Further should economic conditions worsen, the recent improvements made by traditional retailers will not prevent the laggards from suffering failure, according to the second article by the Journal. (For more, see also: Amazon Made Up 4% of All US Retail in 2017: Study.

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