The news gets worse at Gap Inc. The retail giant said that November sales fell 9%, or 8% on a currency-neutral basis. It has struggled to produce sales growth for some years but last year it did at least manage a 6% sales rise in November.
The sales were still eye-wateringly high – $1.57bn – but such a big decrease isn’t good news and the company seemed quite subdued in reporting it. “With much of the holiday season still ahead, our teams remain focused on strong execution and delivering compelling experiences for customers across our brands,” was all CFO Sabrina Simmons said. It’s no surprise that the shares fell.
The company couldn’t even claim that calendar shifts had affected the figures. Last year’s November report included both Black Friday and the Saturday, but so did this year’s.
So how did the company perform on a comp sales basis? Comps fell 8% company-wide but the performance across its brands varied and there was one shock in store. Old Navy, which has been a growth driver for some time, saw comps down 9% compared to an 18% rise a year ago.
The Gap brand was the best performer with only a 4% drop (the same figure as last November) while Banana Republic plunged 19%. A year ago its comps had risen 2%.