NEW YORK, United States — Gap Inc., the biggest U.S. apparel-focused retailer, posted preliminary fourth-quarter earnings that topped analysts’ estimates as sales gains at its discount Old Navy stores made up for weakness at its namesake brand.
Earnings per share were 73 cents to 74 cents, the San Francisco-based company said in a statement Monday. The average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg was 68 cents.
Chief Executive Officer Art Peck has been installing a new executive team as he works to refresh the flagging Gap brand. The Old Navy chain has led the company’s comparable-store sales in recent months as its low prices and deep discounts lure customers who had been reluctant to spend too much amid the choppy economic recovery.
Sales at stores open at least a year and online at the Gap brand slid 6 percent in the quarter. Sales on that basis at Old Navy grew 11 percent.
Companywide same-store sales rose 2 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with a 1 percent gain in the same period a year earlier.
Gap shares were unchanged at $41.10 at 4:19 p.m. in late trading in New York. The shares rose 7.8 percent last year, compared with an 11 percent gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
The company is scheduled to report full fourth-quarter results on Feb. 26.
By Lindsey Rupp. Editors: Nick Turner, Kevin Orland, James Callan.