Edward Lampert’s overall interest in Gap Inc. grew last year.

This story first appeared in the February 15, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

As of Dec. 31, Lampert’s ESL Investments controlled 45.3 million shares of the retailer, or 9.3 percent of those outstanding, according to a filing Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That’s up from 35 million shares, or a 5.8 percent stake, as of Feb. 3 last year.

Most of Lampert’s stake is held within RBS Partners, which has been an active trader in the stock and most recently, a seller. RBS held 30.4 million Gap shares at the end of June and boosted that stake to 36.3 million by the end of September, only to cut it back again to 31.2 million shares by the end of the year.

Shares of Gap rose 2.9 percent to $22.34 Tuesday with 13.3 million shares trading hands, more than two times the average volume. Since Feb. 3, 2011, shares of Gap have gained 15.4 percent.

Lampert has been making retail headlines elsewhere lately. Sears Holdings Corp., which he heads as chairman, said in December it would close as many as 120 doors. The company also ran afoul of factors, which, at least for a time, stopped covering orders to the retailer.

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