beat Wall Street's earnings expectations by 2 cents Thursday as strong sales drove profits up 32%.
Gap's performance was buoyed by the opening of more than 500 Gap,
stores around the world last year. The company saw fourth-quarter sales rise 27% to $3.859 billion, compared with $3.03 billion a year ago.
For the fourth quarter, the San Francisco-based retailer posted net income of 47 cents a diluted share, or $413.9 million, compared with 35 cents a share, or $313.9 million, a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by
First Call/Thomson Financial
had projected earnings of 45 cents for the latest quarter.
Gap said it plans to open another 600 stores this year; it currently counts 2,900 stores worldwide. The company also said it would begin breaking out monthly sales for its
unit; until now the company did not provide sales figures for its international and outlet businesses.
Gap shares were down in early trading Thursday, falling 1 1/16, or 3%, to 41 7/8. Gap finished down 7/16, or 1%, at 42 1/2.