In a slowing economy, the more upscale the retailer, it seems, the more they're struggling. Department-store operator Macy's needed a one-time...

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MINNEAPOLIS — In a slowing economy, the more upscale the retailer, it seems, the more they’re struggling.

Department-store operator Macy’s needed a one-time tax benefit to rescue the fourth-quarter results it released Tuesday. Cheap-chic Target did better, with an 8 percent drop in quarterly earnings that was still a little higher than analysts expected.

And Wal-Mart, with its strong emphasis on low prices, reported a solid fourth quarter last week.

Other examples: Nordstrom said Monday that profit fell 8.6 percent, while discounter TJX said last week its fourth-quarter earnings rose almost 47 percent.

Target said sales in stores open at least one year, known as same-store sales, edged up 0.2 percent. It didn’t give specific guidance for the new year.

Macy’s, meanwhile, said profit edged up 2.3 percent in the fourth quarter as a tax settlement helped offset weaker-than-expected sales.

Sales at stores open at least a year, considered a key indicator of a retailer’s success, fell 2 percent, at the low end of the company’s forecast last month.

Macy’s announced three weeks ago that it would combine three regional divisions and cut about 2,300 management jobs.