SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Gap Inc.’s North American President Marka Hansen is leaving the company after 24 years, effective Friday, following a weak holiday season by the clothing brand.

In December, revenue in stores open at least one year fell 8 percent at Gap brand stores. That measure was better at other Gap-owned stores, up 1 percent at Banana Republic and down 2 percent Old Navy.

It is considered a key gauge of a retailer’s financial health because it excludes stores that open or close during the year.

Hansen, 57, also faced criticism when Gap changed its logo in October, asked for logo suggestions online, then quickly switched it back to where it started after a firestorm of online criticism.

“There may be a time to evolve our logo, but if and when that time comes, we’ll handle it in a different way,” Hansen said at the time, adding that the project was not the right one to offer up to “crowd sourcing.”

She joined the company at Banana Republic as a merchant in 1987. She was named to her current position in 2007.

Stifel Nicolaus analyst Richard Jaffe said the change is a positive.

“While Marka has had a significant positive impact at (the) Gap North America division, particularly on the operational side, her efforts to reposition the merchandise assortments at Gap have not been as fruitful,” he wrote.

Revamping the store’s denim and black pants assortments went well, he said, but not enough to lift Gap’s results and take business from other retailers.

Gap said her successor will be announced within the next day.

It also said it was “comfortable” with analyst expectations of fiscal year net income of $2.09 per share.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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