By and  on November 21, 2007

Specialty retailers Gap Inc. and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. posted strong third-quarter earnings Wednesday. Sales for Gap were flat, but Abercrombie said sales gained 5.8 percent.

Gap’s net earnings for the quarter ended Nov. 3 swelled 26 percent to $238 million, or 30 cents a share, from $189 million, or 23 cents, in the previous year on sales of $3.9 billion.

“Due to the 53rd week in fiscal year 2006, third-quarter 2007 comparable-store sales are compared with the 13 weeks ended Nov. 4, 2006,” the company said in a statement. “On this basis, comparable-store sales decreased 5 percent, compared with a decrease of 5 percent for the third quarter of 2006.”

Gap’s online sales rose 36 percent to $247 million in the third quarter from $182 million last year. “During the third quarter, we made progress in driving earnings growth by managing our inventory and reducing expenses,” Glenn Murphy, chairman and chief executive officer of Gap, said in a statement.

At Abercrombie, net income rose 15 percent to $117.6 million, or $1.29 a diluted share, from $102 million, or $1.11 a diluted share, in the same period last year on sales that climbed to $973.9 million from $863.4 million.

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