Gap shares rise on earnings, sales beat; retailer says making ‘progress’ on split

The Gap and Old Navy stores located in Times Square, New York.

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Gap Inc. on Thursday reported earnings and sales for the quarter that topped analysts’ expectations, after the company warned earlier this month that it was anticipating dismal results.

Its shares were up about 1% in after-hours trading on the news. 

Here’s how Gap did during its fiscal third quarter compared with what analysts were expecting, based on Refinitiv data:

  • Earnings per share: 53 cents, adjusted, vs. 51 cents expected
  • Revenue: $4.00 billion vs. $3.96 billion expected
  • Same-store sales: down 4% vs. a drop of 2.3% expected

Gap earlier this month announced the departure of its CEO since 2015, Art Peck, effective immediately. Peck has temporarily been replaced by the company’s founders’ son, Robert Fisher.

“We are not pleased with the third quarter results and are focused on aggressively addressing the operational issues that are hindering the performance of our brands,” Fisher said in a statement Thursday.

When it announced the management shake-up, Gap offered a glimpse at its third-quarter performance, warning it would be weak. The clothing retailer said third-quarter company-wide same-store sales fell 4%, compared with flat growth a year ago. It said same-store sales at the Gap brand were down 7%, they fell 3% at Banana Republic, and slipped 4% at Old Navy.

The retailer also at the time slashed its full-year profit outlook, expecting to earn between $1.70 and $1.75 a share. It reaffirmed that outlook on Thursday. Analysts had been calling for adjusted earnings per share of $1.83.

With Peck’s abrupt departure, analysts have since been casting doubt that a looming split of Old Navy and Gap will go through, especially with the Old Navy brand in such poor shape. The company announced in February it planned to split Gap into two publicly traded companies. The separation had been scheduled to be completed next year.

Gap, however, told CNBC in an emailed statement earlier this month that its board “continues to believe in the strategic rationale for the planned separation, and the preparation for separation continues as planned.”

“We continue to make progress against our separation plans, which will provide improved focus and a further catalyst for transformation,” Fisher added on Thursday.

Gap Inc. shares, as of Thursday’s market close, are down nearly 40% this year. The retailer has a market cap of about $6.1 billion.

Read the full earnings press release here.

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