Shares of Gap Inc. turned in their worst performance in nearly a decade Friday, falling 17.5 percent after the company warned increasing production costs would hurt their profits more than expected this year.

 

Gap’s stock fell $4.07 to $19.22. The percentage decline was the fifth worst in the retailer’s almost 24 years as a public company and helped push the retail sector further below its historic high, set a week earlier.

 

The S&P Retail Index fell 1.4 percent, or 7.45 points, to 531.23 Friday, making for a 2.9 percent drop for the week. The index goes back to 2002 and topped out at 552.11 May 13.

 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.7 percent, or 93.28 points, to 12,512.04 Friday, leaving blue chip stocks with a 0.7 percent drop for the week.

 

Gap, at least, found company in its misery Friday.

 

Aéropostale Inc. said late Thursday that it would “aggressively” clear spring inventories, pushing the stock down 14.3 percent to $18.30. Other retail decliners included The Talbots Inc., down 10 percent to $4.52; American Eagle Outfitters Inc., 7.5 percent to $13.52; Guess Inc., 5.3 percent to $41.28, and J.C. Penney Co. Inc., 4.9 percent to $36.10.

 

First-quarter earnings reports started off strong last week, with solid showings from midtier and luxe department stores. But results from specialty stores have been mixed and mass retailers lagged as budget-minded consumer curtailed spending.

 

Of the 169 stocks tracked by WWD, 36 rose during the week, seven ended flat and 126 declined.

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