Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy: Must do better

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Gap denim

It’s a funny thing about Gap Inc but it’s one company that has always shown itself able to make a profit, however tough it finds sales growth.

I’ve been following this company’s results for 17 years now and the sales picture has been bad for most of that time. But in reporting its January and Q4 results on Monday, it still managed to guide the markets to the upper end of its fiscal 2015 earnings per share guidance.

But that was the only good news yesterday, because in the four weeks to January 30, net sales fell (again). OK, they still managed $813m but that was down from $888m a year ago. And for Q4, net sales dropped to $4.39bn from $4.71bn.

Currency-neutral net sales fell 5% for Q4 but for January alone they were down 8%. Last month Gap itself fell 6%, although that was better than the year-ago 9% drop. But even worse, Banana Republic fell 17% compared to the year-ago 2% rise, while former star Old Navy was down 6% compared to a 3% rise in January 2015.

The long-awaited turnaround, it seems, is still a work-in-progress.

No explanation was given in the results release with the company simply saying it was looking forward to selling its spring collections. After that AW15 and clearance month performance, it must really be hoping spring will be a fresh start.

gap black friday 2015

Gap Inc offered deep discounts across its brands

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