By and  on August 22, 2008

LOS ANGELES — Gap Inc. has named Tom Wyatt as president Old Navy, the company announced Thursday.

Wyatt, 53, had been serving as interim president for the beleaguered retail chain since February, following the departure of Dawn Robertson, who became president of Sean John earlier this month.

“In the last six months, Tom unified the organization and brought renewed focus to our customer target, while making the tough changes necessary to get the brand back on track. He is the ideal business leader for Old Navy,” Gap Inc. chairman and CEO Glenn Murphy said in a statement.

Of Gap Inc.’s three retail divisions, which include Gap and Banana Republic, Old Navy has suffered the greatest declines in same-store sales in recent quarters. In an attempt to revive interest in its apparel, the retailer hired designer Todd Oldham as creative director last year, a few months after Gap announced it had tapped former Paco Rabanne artistic director Patrick Robinson to oversee design at the San Francisco-based purveyor of casual apparel.

Also on Thursday, the company reported that second quarter net earnings increased 51 percent, though comparable store sales dropped 10 percent.

Widespread reductions in costs, from reducing capital expenditures to bringing in less inventory, helped the bottom line, but Gap still suffers from poor traffic in its stores.

For the quarter ended Aug. 2, net earnings were $229 million, or 32 cents a share on a diluted basis, compared with $152 million, or 19 cents a share, for the second quarter last year. The 2007 second quarter diluted earnings per share included 2 cents of expenses related to the company’s cost-reduction initiatives.

Excluding the 2 cents a share of expenses, second quarter diluted earnings per share last year on a non-GAAP basis were 21 cents a share.

“External conditions aside, we continue to deliver improved earnings with healthy margins and I am pleased with our second quarter results,” Murphy said in a statement. “While we continue to pursue our 2008 financial strategy, we are very focused on bringing more customers into our stores.”

Second-quarter net sales were $3.5 billion, compared with $3.69 billion in the year-ago period.

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