May 18, 2011
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Gap CEO wants more consistent N. American sales

May 18, 2011

May 17 - Apparel retailer Gap Inc needs North American sales to steady as it eyes overseas markets to spur growth, its chief executive said.

"We have to be more of a consistent performer," CEO Glenn Murphy said, speaking at Gap's annual shareholder meeting in San Francisco, which was broadcast over the Internet.

Gap Inc.
Women and men look at sweaters and pants offered at The Gap in the Ginza district of Tokyo, Japan. (Photo: Corbis)

Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, have varied greatly month to month in the past year.

In fiscal 2010, which ended in January, Gap North America was the only division to experience a decline in same-store sales, which slipped 1 percent. In the company's first-quarter, same-store sales were negative at all its divisions, which include the Old Navy and Banana Republic chains, as well as Gap.

Gap's sales in 2010 came to $14.7 billion, or 7.9 percent below 2006 levels, leading the company to increasingly turn to overseas markets for growth. Some 328 out of its 3,095 stores as of January were outside the United States.

Murphy said that Gap, which entered China last year 2010, planned to open another 10 stores there this year. It will also bring its outlet concept to Italy this year and China in 2012.

Gap is set to report first-quarter results on Thursday.

Shares were unchanged at $22.95 in afternoon trading.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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