The Gap Inc.’s stock tumbled briefly during the afternoon after short seller Andrew Left of Citron Research said he was shorting the stock.
Gap stock dropped from $27.39 to $26.85 in a matter of moments before recovering and ending the day up 2 cents at $27.28. Left, who founded short selling company Citron Research, said the company had become irrelevant on Bloomberg Television on Wednesday afternoon.
“If you look at all of the surveys of what teens do, where people buy, how people shop. You see Gap is irrelevant. Anyone who’s watching the show, go to the mall today, walk in to Banana Republic, walk in to Gap — you could swing an umbrella and not hit anyone,” said Left.
Left said he would not be surprised to see Gap’s stock trading below $20 a share within six months. A short sell means the trader expects the stock to go lower. Left has gotten attention before for short positions in Monster Beverages and Mobileye.
Gap reports its earnings after the market closes on Thursday. The FactSet estimate is for fourth-quarter earnings per share of 56 cents and sales of $4.3 billion.
Gap stock has plunged over 30 percent in the past year; however, in the last month investors have started to feel better about its prospects and have pushed the stock up by 18 percent. Considering that holiday sales were tepid for many retailers, mall traffic was reported as down and winter was warm, it’s very possible Gap will not deliver a strong quarter. Even Gap noted that its same-store sales for January had dropped by 7 percent, which meant that there weren’t a lot of post-holiday bargain shoppers.
On the other hand, Yahoo Financial reports that there have been 23 upward earnings revisions for Gap in the last 30 days. The average target price for Gap stock is $26, with the majority of analysts rating the company a hold.