Gap's November sales beat forecasts

Gap's key revenue figure for November beats Wall Street estimates

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Gap Inc. says that a key revenue measure rose a better-than-expected 2 percent for November as the clothing chain continued its rebound.

Analysts expected that the figure would be up 0.8 percent, according to Thomson Reuters.

The figure is based on revenue at stores opened at least a year, which is considered a key indicator of a retailer's health. The figure captures the four-week period ended Saturday and includes Thanksgiving and Black Friday. The results were released after the regular markets closed Thursday.

Gap's results are one of the few bright spots in an otherwise weak batch of November sales reports that showed a weak showing over the Thanksgiving weekend. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, had been the traditional start of the holiday period. But many stores opened on Thanksgiving night to get first dibs on shoppers in a slowly recovering economy. Gap, which operates stores under Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, opened about half of its fleet earlier on the turkey feast.

The San Francisco-based clothing retailer offered strong promotions and trendy merchandise that appeared to help pull in shoppers.

Revenue at stores open at least a year for its namesake brand was up 2 percent, while that figure rose 3 percent at Old Navy. At Banana Republic, that figure fell 1 percent.

"We are pleased with how we competed and delivered in November, providing a seamless experience for our customers whether they shopped in stores, online or on their mobile devices," said Glenn Murphy, chairman and CEO of Gap Inc. in a statement.

Net sales for the four-week period rose 8 percent to $1.63 billion.

Gap shares added 2.6 percent to $41.30 in after-hours trading. The stock closed regular trading down 66 cents at $40.24.

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