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Gap sales nosedive by 43% in first quarter

Gap Inc. sales plunged 43% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2020, largely driven by store closures across its estate. 

In the period ended 2 May, the group posted a total net loss of $932m (£735m), down from a profit of $227m (£179m) posted the same period the year prior. 

The fashion giant, that operates a portfolio of lifestyle brands, including Gap, Old Navy, Athleta and Banana Republic, closed approximately 90% of its global store fleet on 19 March in light of the pandemic. 

It noted that its first quarter results reflect the “significant impacts” of the global pandemic, including lost sales and corresponding merchandise margin arising from the closures.

In addition, the group was affected by a non-cash impairment charge of $484m (£382m) related to its store assets and operating lease assets, as well as a $235m (£186m) non-cash inventory impairment charge.

Nonetheless, online sales increased 13% year-over-year in the first quarter, with over 100% year-over-year online sales growth seen in May alone. In comparison, in-store sales crashed 61% in the same period. 

Total operating loss in the period was $1.2bn (£947m), while short-term debt increased from $0 to $500m (£395m). 

As part of the group’s response to the ongoing pandemic, Gap Inc. now plans to reduce its capital expenditures for the fiscal year by approximately 50%, and expects capital spending to be approximately $300m (£237m) for the full-year.

Sonia Syngal, president and CEO of Gap Inc, said: “Our teams’ ability to pivot quickly and lean into our strong online business resulted in an encouraging 40% online sales growth in April. 

“While net sales and stores sales continued to reflect material declines in May as a result of closures, we saw over 100% growth in online sales during the month.”

She added: “This online momentum, enabled by new omni-capabilities that have expanded the way customers can shop with us, leaves us well-positioned to fuel our brands going forward.

“We are optimistic that the actions we’ve taken will provide a stable foundation as we navigate near-term uncertainty and refashion Gap Inc. for long-term growth.”

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