Major retailers reported dismal monthly sales for December on Thursday, with Wal-Mart Inc, the nation's biggest retailer, showing a disappointing 1.7 percent rise in December sales at its US stores open at least a year and cut its quarterly earnings outlook.

Due to the difficult economy and service winter weather in some regions, the holiday season was more challenging for retailers than expected, Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman of Wal-Mart Stores, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, department store operator Macy's Inc. announced Wednesday that it also was closing 11 underperforming stores, with clearance sales starting next week. It announced that sames-store sales fell 4 percent.

Among other retailers that reported sharp drops in sales were Sears Holdings Corp. whose revenue was down 7.3 percent.

Kmart sales fell 1.1 percent, while Costco Wholesale Corp. reported 4 percent decline. Limited Brands Inc. posted a 10 percent drop.

Limited also lowered its fourth-quarter earnings outlook.