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.
According to a new study, 43 percent of retail CFOs said North America provides the most attractive sourcing opportunities.
Costco Wholesale Corp reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by a tax benefit related to its special cash dividend last month.
TJX and Ross are growing sales faster than the overall industry, with limited or no online revenue.
Lumber Liquidators has been in hot water after a "60 Minutes" report that it imported potentially toxic laminate.
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