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Gap Beats 4Q Earnings Expectations

February 24, 2000

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Fourth-quarter earnings at Gap Inc. beat expectations, helped by the retail company’s rapid expansion.

For the three months ended Jan. 29, 2000, the company said Thursday that its earnings were up 32 percent to $414 million, or 47 cents per share, from $314 million or 35 cents a share during the same period last year.

Analysts had predicted fourth-quarter earnings of 45 cents a share.

Shares of Gap fell 42 27/64 cents to $42.51 9/16 in trading at 4:30 p.m. on the New York Stock Exchange.

Fourth-quarter sales rose 27 percent to $3.86 billion from $3.03 billion in the year-ago period.

Gap operated 2,932 stores at the end of the year, up from 2,428 a year ago.

Millard S. Drexler, president and chief executive officer, praised Gap’s expansion.

``We also reached new customers and expanded market share by opening more than 500 stores worldwide and broadening our brands online,″ he said.

The company, which operates Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy clothing stores, earned $1.13 billion or $1.26 per share the year, up from earnings of $825 million or 91 cents a share last year.

Sales were up to $11.64 billion from $9.05 billion last year.

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