Most UK retailers were showing declines on the day, with the share prices of Jessops, WHSmith, Signet, JJB Sports, French Connection, Next and Carphone Warehouse falling in early trading.
Yesterday, the US Dow Jones stock market was dragged down by poor retail sales results for April.
Wal-mart announced that its same-store sales were down 3.5 per cent in April. The result is its worst monthly figure since its records began 28 years ago. Wal-mart blamed bad weather for the decline.
The news was echoed by other large retailers. The UBS-International Council of Shopping Centers index, which tracks sales from the top 50 US retailers, declined 2.4 percent - the largest drop since records began in 1970. Among the chains posting declines for April were Target (6.1 per cent), Federated Department Stores (2.2 per cent), JC Penney (2.7 per cent) and Gap (16 per cent).
Several factors were blamed for the poor April sales figures in the US, including bad weather, an early Easter and rising petrol prices.