Shares of Gap Inc. (GPS) soared to a new 52-week high of $41.43 on Friday, May 10, after it reported strong April 2013 comparable-store sales (comps) performance and provided upbeat guidance for first-quarter fiscal 2013. The premier international specialty retailer eventually closed trade at $40.99, reflecting a solid year-to-date return of 31.2% and 48.1% over the past year.
Based on the current price, this global specialty apparel retailer is 0.9% lower the Zacks Consensus average analyst price target of $41.79. Additionally, the company’s long-term estimated EPS growth rate is 10.9%, which is relatively healthy.
Average volume of shares traded over the last 3 months stands at approximately 4.435 million. Moreover, the stock currently trades at a forward P/E of 14.65x, lower than the peer group average of 15.37x.
Gap, which has transitioned through a phase of decreasing comparable-store sales and reduced profitability, is now set for growth, riding on its turnaround strategies as evident from its solid comps and sales performance in fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013 so far.
Gap reported comps increase of 7% for the 4 weeks ended May 4, 2013 compared with a 2% fall registered for the 4 weeks ended May 5, 2012, driven by strong results at its namesake Gap and Old Navy stores. Moreover, net sales in April totaled $1.21 billion, up 5% from the prior-year period figure of $1.15 billion.
For the first quarter of fiscal 2013, the company’s net sales increased 7% to $3.73 billion, up from $3.49 billion in the prior-year period. Comps rose 2% compared with a 4% increase in the year-ago quarter.
Based on strong sales results, the company expects first-quarter fiscal 2013 earnings per share in the range of 68–69 cents, compared with the reported year-ago quarter number of 47 cents. This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company is scheduled to report its first-quarter results on May 23. The current Zacks Consensus Estimate is 57 cents per share.
With respect to earnings surprises, Gap has topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the trailing 4 quarters with an average surprise of 2.4%.
Other stocks in the retail space that touched all-time highs on Friday, May 10 are Home Depot Inc. (HD), Abercrombie & Fitch Company (ANF) and Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NWL), which reached $76.20, $54.20 and $27.63, respectively.
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