U.S. retail stocks backed off their best close ever Friday and fell to 0.7 percent, or 4.88 points, to 664.38 today.


The sector got hit harder than the market overall. The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.3 percent, or 40.27 points, to 13,553.10.


Retailers are in general operating more efficiently with less inventory and have plowed money into their growing e-commerce businesses. But their success in the markets has outstripped the progress they’ve seen in the economy and their stores.


Today’s gainers included Gap Inc., which rose 2.4 percent to $36.05 after Rebekka Bay was named creative director; Maidenform Brands Inc., 1.8 percent to $22.79; Nike Inc., 1.4 percent to $97.97, and Oxford Industries Inc.,1.1 percent to $57.47.


Markets were also down across Europe.


Milan’s FTSE MIB fell 0.9 percent to 16,470.09, as Paris’ CAC 40 declined 0.8 percent to 3,553.69, London’s FTSE 100 decreased 0.4 percent to 5,893.52, and Frankfurt’s DAX fell 0.1 percent to 7,403.69.


The decliners included Asos, down 2.1 percent to 20.30 pounds; Burberry Group, 1.7 percent to 10.75 pounds Tod’s, 1.8 percent to 86.45 euros; Hermès International, 1.8 percent to 215.45 euros; LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, 1.7 percent to 124.60 euros; Luxottica Group, 1.7 percent to 27.10 euros, and PPR, 1.1 percent to 123.45 euros.


The pound traded at $1.62 against the dollar and the euro at $1.31.