Retailers Slammed by Store Sales, Customer Security

Igor Stepovik/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Many retailers are facing more challenges than ever.  

This week's store closure announcements by J.C. Penney and Macy's may be followed by more decisions from brick-and-mortar firms to control costs.

While online retailers reported solid sales gains, fewer shoppers went to the mall during the holiday season.  Even Best Buy, which touted its aggressive pricing policy as it fought back against showrooming, did far worse than expected.  Its share price was hammered Thursday, falling 29 percent after the company announced a sales decline. 

Security is another huge headache.  The massive breach at Target and Nieman Marcus stores may have been part of an even larger assault aimed at multiple retailers.  The finding comes in a report from iSight Partners, a company that does cyber intelligence work for the government.

The breaches appear to involve different groups of hackers.  iSight's chief executive says more attacks are likely.

The Wall Street Journal reports parts of the computer code used against Target were on the black market since last spring and were partly written in Russian.

The computer network at Neiman Marcus was penetrated by hackers as far back as July, sources tell The New York Times.  The breach was not fully contained until Sunday.

Lawsuits and government investigations are another problem.  Neiman Marcus and Target are being probed by state Attorneys General in Connecticut and Illinois over the theft of credit-card data belonging to customers.  Officials in Florida, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are also said to be involved.  

Bloomberg News says Target is "facing almost two dozen lawsuits filed by customer," and has been sued by Connecticut-based Putnam Bank.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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