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Gap February revenue figure rises 4 percent

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POSTED March 1, 2012 9:08 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Clothing retailer Gap Inc. said Thursday that a key revenue figure rose 4 percent in February, above analysts' expectations, helped by strong demand for spring clothing at its Banana Republic chain.

Results were a positive sign for the retailer, which has been struggling for years to turn its business around and reclaim its former fashion status. Investors sent the stock up nearly 10 percent to $25.64 in premarket trading.

"We're pleased we delivered positive comps across our North America businesses during February and that customers responded well to our spring product," said CEO Glenn Murphy in a statement.

Analysts had expected a 1.4 percent drop. Sales at stores open at least a year, called same-store sales, is considered an important measurement of retailer performance, because it excludes results from locations that have opened or closed in the last year. Gap includes online sales in the figure.

During the four weeks ended Feb. 25, same-store sales rose 12 percent at Banana Republic, 5 percent at Old Navy and 1 percent at Gap North America stores. All of them beat analysts' estimates.

The figure fell 9 percent internationally.

Total sales rose 6.5 percent to $874 million from $821 million last year.

Gap operates about 3,000 company operated stores and 200 franchise stores in 90 countries. In addition to Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy, the San Francisco-based company owns the Piperlime e-commerce site and Athleta sportswear brand.


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