NEW YORK — With the weather outside frightful and the fire inside delightful, shoppers stayed home last week, driving down comparable-store sales for major chains.

The blizzard that blanketed much of the Eastern half of the U.S. on Presidents’ Day weekend, and the digging out in the days after, contributed to lowered February comp expectations at Federated Department Stores Inc. and J.C. Penney Co. Inc. Other firms were also pressured, both on the top line and in the price of their shares, as the storm took away whatever momentum the month may have had.

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