Gap Backs Earnings Forecast

The retailer says results are trending toward the upper end of its projected range.
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Gap

(GPS) - Get Report

affirmed its full-year earnings estimate Wednesday despite slumping sales, according to media reports.

Gap Chief Financial Officer Byron Pollitt, speaking at an investor conference, reiterated a fiscal-year earnings forecast of $1.12 to $1.17 a share and said results are trending toward the upper end of the range. He also said the company intends to continue raising its dividend payments and repurchasing shares, according to

Reuters

.

Analysts are expecting earnings of $1.15 a share for the fiscal year ending this month, according to an average estimate compiled by Thomson First Call.

Gap's three main divisions -- Gap Stores, Banana Republic and Old Navy -- have struggled against increasing competition in the specialty retail space lately. In the key holiday month of December, the company's same-store sales slid 9%, but Gap noted that fewer markdowns resulted in improved merchandise margins from a year ago.

Shares of Gap were recently trading up 12 cents, or 0.7%, to $17.60.