Retail shares sank at the open Friday, with the Retail SPDR down 1.6% and most major components under heavy pressure.
Gap led the declines on a weak same-store sales report that led at least one analyst to downgrade the stock.
Gap said Thursday that same-store sales in the most recent period fell 6 percent, with the biggest declines at its namesake chain and at Old Navy.
Gap stores saw sales fall 7 percent in the five weeks ended April 5, as did Old Navy. Banana Republic did slightly better, with sales down 4 percent.
"While March performance has been challenging, we remain confident in the opportunities ahead," Gap CEO Glenn Murphy said in a statement.
Gap also warned that gross margins for the fiscal first quarter would decline, with a bigger rate of decline than they posted in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year.
But the company affirmed its earnings-per-share targets for the year.
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Rents and occupancy rates at malls are outrunning those in the overall sector.
Best Buy plans to close some stores and consolidate its operations in Canada.
A drop in Chinese tourist numbers is driving down shop rentals in Hong Kong, with vacancies increasing in the same prime areas.
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