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Gap Sees Higher Profit

Same-store sales rose 3% and the company adds $250 million to a buyback authorization.
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(GPS) - Get Gap, Inc. Report

reported slightly stronger-than-expected October sales Thursday, raised its earnings guidance and authorized $250 million more for stock repurchases.

The San Francisco-based clothier reported a 3% increase in October same-store sales, reflecting 7% growth at its domestic flagship stores and slightly lower growth at its Banana Republic and Old Navy lines. Total October sales rose 5% from a year ago to $1.5 billion.

For its third quarter, Gap said same-store sales dipped 1% from a year ago, while overall sales rose 1% to $4 billion. The company expects to earn 27 cents or 28 cents in the three months ended Oct. 30, compared with a Thomson First Call consensus estimate of 26 cents a share. Gap's estimate contemplates a debt buyback charge of a penny a share.

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The $250 million buyback authorization follows a $500 million program launched on Oct. 7, which is nearly complete. Since being

highlighted on this site as a value proposition Oct.11, Gap has risen 5% to close Wednesday at $20.24. The run-up mirrors the gain in the S&P Retail Index over that period.

In premarket Instinet trading Thursday, Gap shares were up 51 cents to $20.75.

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