Gap.com on the Shelf

The retailer's online sites are down for a redesign, just a week after a disappointing profit showing.
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Updated from 3:02 p.m.

Gap's (GPS) - Get Report online sales channels have been offline since Wednesday, as the company tries a Web site redesign.

With retailers careening into the sweet spot for September back-to-school sales, San Francisco-based Gap appeared to be leaving sales on the table. Its Web site was down Friday afternoon with the message: "We're updating our site to bring you a better shopping experience."

The page said Gap.com is temporarily closed for "site improvements," and it provided a place for shoppers to enter their email address to be notified when the site is back up. A similar message came up at sites for Gap's other chains, like Banana Republic and Old Navy.

Sarah Anderson, a Gap spokeswoman, refused to comment on when the sites would be back online, except to say the redesign is expected to take "several days."

"We're hoping customers will find that the changes make a compelling, interactive online store with new and innovative tools and features, but we're not disclosing the new additions yet," Anderson said.

The glitch could be particularly troubling for the retailer's shareholders, who endured disappointing second-quarter results last week, as well as troubling estimates for future results.

Despite a 39% jump in second-quarter net income that beat expectations, Gap's gross profit declined compared to the same quarter last year. Its net sales were flat at $3.7 billion on a same-store sales decline of 3% for the quarter. Based on August sales stumbles across all its brands, the company said its much-awaited sales turnaround, expected this fall, will likely not materialize.

Gap lowered its full-year guidance to a range of $1.30 to $1.34 a share from its old estimate of $1.44 to $1.48 a share, saying this month's results have been "significantly below expectations."

Internet sales have become an increasingly important channel for retailers. Last year, online sales made up 4.3% of Gap's total sales in North America.

Visitors to Gap.com got this message Friday.

On Friday, Gap dropped a dime to $19.