Gap Inc boosts 2013 dividend as fourth-quarter tops Wall Street
The company, which owns the Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic brands, forecast a full-year profit largely below analysts' estimates, hurt by a weak Japanese yen.
Gap expects a per-share profit of between $2.52 and $2.60 for the year, compared to the average $2.59 per share analysts were looking for according to Thomson Reuters.
After years of being accused of selling boring clothes, Gap has regained an edge in fashion, following a prolonged turnaround that included a change in its top management.
Operating margin is expected to grow to about 13 percent in 2013 from about 12 percent last year, Chief Executive Glenn Murphy said on a conference call.
QUARTER BEATS STREET
Gap, the third biggest clothes retailer in the world, posted net income of $351 million, or 73 cents per share, for the quarter ended February 2, compared with $218 million, or 44 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. Gross margin for the quarter rose 4.8 percentage points to 37.6 percent. Analysts on average had expected a profit of 71 cents per share. Sales rose 10.5 percent to $4.73 billion, while same-store sales were up 5 percent.
During the fourth-quarter, sales at established North American stores rose 4 percent for its namesake brand and 3 percent for Banana Republic brand. Sales at Old Navy stores rose 8 percent, the company said.
Shares of the company, which have risen more than 40 percent in one year, closed at $32.92 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.
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