Wall Street anxiously anticipated dismal January same-store sales, which will be released later in the week, by sending retail shares into free-fall on Monday.

The WWD Composite Stock Index fell 2.5 percent to 893.14, while the S&P Retail Index plunged 3.1 percent to 411.05. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.9 percent to 12,635.16, while the broader S&P 500 fell 1.1 percent to close at 1,380.82.

Women’s apparel companies were the biggest drag on the sector.

Talbot’s Inc. made the New York Stock Exchange’s list of biggest decliners, sinking 12.5 percent to $8.26, while Coldwater Creek Inc. fell 18.1 percent to $5.76, Charming Shoppes Inc. declined 15.1 percent to $5.85, Chico’s FAS Inc. decreased 5.8 percent to $10.04 and Christopher & Banks Corp. dipped 5 percent to $12.28. AnnTaylor Stores Corp. closed down 5.3 percent to $23.92.

Limited Brands Inc. fell 5.2 percent to $18.32, while Citi Trends Inc. decreased 10.7 percent to close at $13.49.Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. declined 2.2 percent to $50.05, while rival Target Corp. slid 5.1 percent to close at $54.16.

Teen retailer American Eagle Outfitters Inc. skidded 7 percent to $21.87, A?ropostale Inc. sloped 5.4 percent to $27.46, and Hot Topic Inc. dropped 8 percent to close at $5.08. J. Crew Group also ended the day down 6 percent to $44.04.

Pull-backs came despite a Commerce Department report that said U.S. factory orders rose 2.3 percent in December, its biggest gain since July.

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