An early Easter, rising gas prices and a weak housing market pulled down April sales for nearly all retailers and softened the near term outlook. The weakness cut across store categories and even engulfed retailers who have typically stayed above cyclical trends. Among the results, Target Corp. posted a 6.1 percent decline in same store sales, somewhat better than the 6.2 percent decline that had been expected. Wal-Mart posted a 3.5 percent decline in same-store sales, considered a key measure of performance; weaker than its estimates ranging between flat sales to a 2 percent decline. Nordstrom reported a 3.3 percent same-store sales increase, below the 4.2 percent gain expected. And specialty retailer Bebe Stores Inc. posted a 9 percent drop, well below a 6.6 percent decrease that analysts had forecast.