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Gap key revenue figure falls 1 percent in March

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Gap Inc. said Thursday that its March revenue at stores open at least a year fell 1 percent, the results weighed the earlier Easter.

But the sales number was better than the 2.1 percent drop expected by Wall Street, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

The metric is a key measure of a retailer's health, because it excludes revenue at stores that recently opened or closed.

For the five-week period ended April 6, revenue at Gap stores open at least a year was flat compared with last year. The metric rose 1 percent at Banana Republic stores and fell 2 percent at Old Navy stores.

Total sales rose 7 percent to $1.56 billion in March.

The company said the calendar shift of an earlier Easter — which is a slow day for sales — hurt results, particularly at Old Navy. The company said in a pre-recorded call that a better measure of results will be found by combining results for the March and April period.

San Francisco-based Gap, whose other brands include Piperlime and Athleta, has about 3,000 company-operated stores and about 300 franchise stores in 90 countries.