Gap Inc. Earnings For 2010 To Beat Expectations

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – San Francisco-based Gap Inc. said its profit for the fiscal year just ended will come in higher than expected, as revenue at stores open at least a year rose 1 percent in January.

The retailer, which runs Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy stores, estimated its profit for the year ended Jan. 29 will be $1.85 to $1.86 per share, up from a previous forecast of $1.77 to $1.82. It said revenue would rise 3 percent to $14.66 billion, matching the estimate of analysts surveyed by FactSet. Analysts were expecting a full-year profit of $1.81 per share.

Revenue at stores open at least a year rose 1 percent for the full year.

For the month of January, sales at all Gap stores rose 5.8 percent to $843 million.

Results across Gap’s different brands were mixed for the month. Sales were flat at Gap stores open at least a year, while rising 4 percent at Banana Republic. Sales fell 3 percent at Old Navy stores open at least a year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had been expecting a decline of 3.1 percent for sales at stores open at least a year, including drops of 2.4 percent at Old Navy, 1.1 percent at Banana Republic, and 4.4 percent at Gap stores.

Sales rose 8 percent at international stores open at least a year. Analysts had been expecting a decline of 3.2 percent.

Revenue at stores open at least a year is a key indicator of a retailer’s health because it excludes stores that open or close during the year.

For the fourth quarter, Gap said revenue rose 3 percent to $4.36 billion, matching the estimate of analysts surveyed by FactSet. Sales at stores open at least a year were flat for the quarter.

Sales at Gap stores open at least a year fell 2 percent. At Banana Republic and Old Navy they rose 1 percent, and fell 1 percent at international stores.

 (© 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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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