WWD just reported that the month of January saw 600,000 jobs cut from the American economy, 8,600 of which were from department stores. This news comes right on the heels of yesterday's department store news, that the S&P's Ratings Services has placed six department stores - Dillard's, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, J.C. Penney and Sears - on credit watch, which means any or all of those companies could have their credit ratings lowered, and we all know what that means. In fact, Bon-Ton, Kohl's and Saks have all recently had their credit ratings lowered from "stable" to "negative". Our advice? If you've been holding on to some gift cards from any of those stores, use them.