US based clothing retailer Gap had a tough Christmas period it seems with sales declining across its international operations, according to results released today.
Comparable stores sales, including online trading, fell four per cent year-on-year in the five weeks ending December 31st 2011, with net sales for the period totalling $1.98 billion (£1.28 billion) compared to $2.01 billion in 2010.
Over the previous Christmas period like-for-like (LFL) trading declined two per cent annually, showing the prolonged difficulties the trader has been experiencing and why it is currently undergoing an extensive restructuring of its international portfolio.
Gap stores in the US saw trading fall four per cent LFL during the period compared to a six per cent drop last year, while its international outlets, including those in the UK, witnessed a six per cent LFL slump against just a three per cent drop in 2010.
Glenn Murphy, CEO and Chairman of Gap, commented: “We expected December to be highly promotional, and while we competed aggressively across our brands, our performance was below our expectations.
“That said, we are encouraged by bright spots across our business, and we‘re clear and focused on what needs to be fixed in order to improve our sales trend in 2012.”
In October the company set out plans to rapidly expand its international presence and, along with aggressive store opening in Asia, the major focus was to expand the Old Navy and Banana Republic brands in to new territories making the group‘s recent sluggish performance particularly worrying.
Banana Republic saw sales fall two per cent over the festive season while Old Navy trading declined four per cent.
For the year-to-date , the 48 weeks to the end of 2011, net sales across the group totalled $13.72 billion, representing a one per cent fall year-on-year, while comparable sales fell four per cent.