Net sales for global fashion retailer Gap grew by three per cent year-on-year to $14.66 billion (£9.11 billion) over the last 12 month, according to full-year results published today.
Comparable store sales fell by one per cent in the 52 weeks to January 30th at Gap North American and saw only marginal growth in its other brick and mortar divisions.
Gap has 141 stores in the UK and the retailer’s international stores sales grew by one per cent in the year compared to a four per cent fall last year, however fourth quarter trading reduced by one per cent.
A reduction of operating expenses by $10 million helped boost earnings at the business despite little sales growth, with diluted earnings per share up 19 per cent to $1.88 for 2010 compared with $1.58 last year.
Glenn Murphy, Chairman and CEO of Gap Inc, said: “During 2010, we executed well on our goal of delivering sales improvement alongside our fourth consecutive year of double-digit earnings per share growth.
“We remain committed to investing in the future and executing with speed and consistency, allowing us to capitalize on the enormous global growth potential ahead of us.”
Plans to open 190 stores in the next 12 months include 125 new international outlets for the retail group, in comparison to 2010 when there was no store growth in its European operations.
In other news today Gap’s board of directors approved an additional $2 billion share repurchase authorisation and a plan to increase the annual dividend per share by 13 per cent.
Sabrina Simmons, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Gap, commented: “Since 2004, we’ve returned over $10 billion in cash to shareholders, with $2.2 billion in 2010 alone,”
“Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to delivering shareholder value using cash distribution as an important component.”