A disastrous year for J. C. Penney concluded with a $985 million loss for 2012. Company shares are down 16 percent before the opening bell.
Another storied brand, Sears, narrowed its losses for the fourth quarter on stronger sales and shares rose 2 percent.
Shares in the Wendy's hamburger chain rose slightly after it posted a bump in net income for the fourth quarter and stood by its outlook for the year.
There has been some concern that a hike to the payroll tax that rolled out last month would cool consumer spending and Burger King and Wal-Mart have already said they've noticed a pull-back from their customers.