Tags: Gap | Holiday | Shopping | Forecast

Gap's Holiday-Shopping Forecast Falls Short

Thursday, 21 Nov 2013 07:17 PM

Gap Inc., the biggest U.S. specialty-apparel retailer, Thursday maintained an annual profit forecast range, signaling that the crucial holiday-shopping quarter may fall short of analysts’ estimates.

The company reaffirmed its full-year earnings estimates of $2.57 to $2.65. That range, excluding results from the first three quarters, implies fourth quarter profit of 50 cents to 58 cents a share, trailing analysts’ estimates of 69 cents a share.

Chief Executive Officer Glenn Murphy is working to boost holiday sales with lower-priced and on-trend products as apparel retailers increase discounts. Consumers are also shifting their spending to durable goods such as cars and appliances. Sales for the third quarter rose 2.9 percent to $3.98 billion, meeting analysts’ average estimate.

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“Expectations were so far ahead of what’s possible to execute against,” said Stephanie Wissink, a Minneapolis-based analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos., in a phone interview after the results. “They’re being conservative, because they should be, but it’s also a mindset of reasonability. The cycle of beating and raising projections is starting to wane.” She has a hold rating on the shares.

Net income for the quarter ended Nov. 2 rose 9.4 percent to $337 million, or 72 cents per share.

Gap shares fell less than 1 percent to $41.50 in aftermarket trading Thursday, after gaining 1.5 percent during the regular session in New York. The shares had gained 35 percent this year through the close of regular trading.

Gap said same-store sales rose 1 percent in the third quarter, compared with a 6 percent gain a year earlier.

Sales at Banana Republic brand stores open at least a year fell 1 percent in the third quarter while the Gap brand gained 1 percent and Old Navy sales were flat.

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Gap Inc., the biggest U.S. specialty-apparel retailer, Thursday maintained an annual profit forecast range, signaling that the crucial holiday-shopping quarter may fall short of analysts' estimates.
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2013-17-21
Thursday, 21 Nov 2013 07:17 PM
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