Gap Sales Trail Analysts’ Estimates as Flagship Brand Slumps

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Gap Sales Trail Estimates as Flagship Brand Tumbles

Gap Inc., the biggest U.S. apparel-focused retailer, posted same-store sales for April that trailed analysts’ estimates amid continued lackluster demand for the company’s flagship brand.

Comparable sales for the Gap chain plunged 15 percent last month, the San Francisco-based company said in a statement Monday. Analysts projected a drop of 11 percent, according to Retail Metrics.

Chief Executive Officer Art Peck is working to revive the flagging Gap brand, installing new leadership and revamping its product assortment. Comparable sales at the Gap have now declined for 12 straight months. At the same time, the company’s lower-end Old Navy business has outperformed the retailer’s same-store sales as discounts lure customers.

Companywide same-store sales fell 12 percent in April, while analysts projected a drop of 7 percent. Sales at Old Navy fell 6 percent and decreased 15 percent at Banana Republic. Analysts predicted declines of 5.6 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively, at those brands.

Gap shares fell as much as 4.1 percent to $38.22 on Tuesday, the biggest intraday decline since November. They were trading at $38.41 at 11:41 a.m. in New York, down 3.7 percent.

The company also posted preliminary first-quarter earnings that topped analysts’ estimates. Earnings per share were 55 cents to 56 cents, Gap said. The average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was 54 cents.

Gap is scheduled to report full first-quarter results on May 21.

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