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Lampert’s ESL Reports Holding 5.8% of Retailer Gap

Billionaire Edward Lampert, the chairman of Sears Holdings Corp., reported that he and his hedge fund acquired a 5.8 percent stake in fellow retailer Gap Inc.

The investment group, which includes Greenwich, Connecticut-based ESL Partners LP, holds 34.9 million Gap shares with a current market value of almost $751 million, according to a Schedule 13G filed today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Gap reported that its same-store sales rose 1 percent in January, compared with the 3 percent drop projected from analysts’ estimates compiled by Retail Metrics Inc. The San Francisco-based company’s shares have increased almost 10 percent, including dividends, in the past year.

ESL Partners held about 2.84 million Gap shares, or less than 1 percent of shares outstanding, as of Dec. 31, according to the hedge fund’s most recent Form 13F, a filing money managers use to disclose their holdings in U.S.-traded stocks and options at the end of each quarter. The group’s overall stake reached the 5 percent reporting threshold on Feb. 3, according to today’s filing.

According to the Schedule 13G, ESL Partners holds 20.46 million Gap shares and an affiliate owns 6.61 million shares. In addition, Lampert has 7.86 million Gap shares under his own name, the filing said.

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