Gap Inc. reports modest sales boost over year ago

San Francisco-based Gap Inc. (GPS), one of the nation’s largest clothing retailers, reported net sales of $1.2 billion for August, a 4 percent increase over the same month last year.

Same-store sales for August 2007 decreased 1 percent compared with a 7 percent decrease in August 2006. Analysts had expected a 2 percent decline.

“Although merchandise margins were below last year, we’re pleased with the progress we’re making across our brands,” said Sabrina Simmons, executive vice president of Gap Inc. finance.

The Gap North America and Banana Republic North America were the strongest performing divisions within the company.

Gap North America saw same-store sales increase 2 percent, versus an 11 percent decrease last year, while Banana Republic North American saw same-store sales increase 7 percent versus a 2 percent increase last year.

Same-store sales decreased 4 percent for Old Navy North America, however, versus an 8 percent decrease last year, and decreased 7 percent for the company’s International division, which had flat same-store results last year.

San Francisco’s The Sharper Image Corp. (SHRP) also reported sales for the month of August on Thursday of $21.9 million, compared to $33.4 million in the same month last year, a drop of 34 percent.

Total year-to-date sales for the seven months ended Aug. 31, 2007 ,were $165.3 million compared with $241.5 million last year, a decrease of 32 percent.

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