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Gap's Feb Comps Flourish

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Gap Inc. (GPS - Free Report) posted February comparable-store sales growth of 3% (comps) that surpassed analyst expectations. This also compares to a 4% comps increase recorded in the comparable prior-year period. During the month, the company’s results benefited from comps gains at its global namesake and Old Navy brands, offset by comps decline at the Banana Republic brand.

Comps at Gap Global increased 2% against a 2% decline recorded in the prior-year period, while Old Navy registered a 6% increase compared to a 5% increase last February. However, Banana Republic’s comps slumped 5% versus a 11% increase in February last year.

Positive results at the Gap and Old Navy brands were mainly attributed to improved sales of jeans and woven tops at these brands. Further, the company indicated that the comps results for February this year are compared with the 4 weeks ended Mar 3, 2012, due to the inclusion of the 53rd week in fiscal 2012.

Concurrently, 3 other retailers – Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST - Free Report) , Limited Brands Inc. and Buckle Inc. (BKE - Free Report) – reported same-store sales for the month of February. Comps growth at Costco and Limited Brands were 6% and 3%, respectively, while comps declined 2% for Buckle.

Gap’s net sales for the four-weeks ended Mar 2, 2013 summed to $966 million compared with the year-ago period (4 weeks ended Feb 25, 2012) sales of $874 million, representing a 10.5% year-over-year increase.

This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company is scheduled to release its March sales results on Apr 11, 2013.

Last week, the company reported fourth quarter earnings of 73 cents a share, soaring 65.9% from 44 cents reported in the comparable prior-year quarter. Further, the quarterly earnings came in above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 71 cents. Gap’s net sales increased 10.3% year over year to $4,725.0 million from $4,283.0 million in the previous-year quarter.

Going forward, Gap expects fiscal 2013 earnings in the range of $2.52–$2.60 per share, an increase of 8%–12% from fiscal 2012.

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