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Gap's August Comps Improve

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The Gap, Inc. (GPS - Free Report) posted comparable-store sales (comps) increase of 2% for the 4-week period ended Aug 31, 2013, compared with a 9% rise for the 4 weeks ended Sep 1, 2012. The improved comps results came primarily on the back of better performances at the company’s Gap Global, Banana Republic Global and Old Navy Global brands.

Brand-wise, comps performances at Gap Global were up 2% compared with a 6% increase in the prior-year period. Comps at Banana Republic Global increased 2% compared with an 8% rise recorded last year. Old Navy Global’s comps inched up 1% versus a 12% increase last year.

However, Gap’s comps for the month were below analysts’ expectations as consumers remain more inclined toward spending on big-ticket items such as furniture, automobiles and building supplies. Net sales in August totaled $1.23 billion, up 3% from sales of $1.20 billion for the 4-week period ended on Sep 1, 2012.

Apart from Gap, other store chain retailers that posted comparable-store sales data for the month of August include The Buckle Inc. (BKE - Free Report) , Stein Mart Inc. and Zumiez Inc. . While The Buckle registered comps growth of 1%, Stein Mart delivered comps growth of 3.8%, and Zumiez a 3% rise in comps.

In August, there were mixed comparable-store sales results for retailers, who tried every means to attract budget-conscious customers with discounts. The back-to-school season, an important one before the holidays, remain a tough one for retailers. Recent data from the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan suggested that Consumer Confidence Index fell to 82.1 in Aug 2013 from 85.1 in Jul 2013, primarily due to higher interest rates and tensions in the Middle East.

Gap currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and is scheduled to release its September sales results on Oct 10, 2013.

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