Long struggling Gap (GPS)  admits it's still not out of the woods.

After the market's close on Thursday, the apparel retailer reported first-quarter earnings of 36 cents a share on revenue of $3.44 billion, crushing the earnings of 29 cents a share and revenue of $3.39 billion analysts surveyed at Factset expected.

Gap's same-store sales across all of its brands, including Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, grew 2%. At Old Navy, comparable store sales climbed 8%, while at Banana Republic and Gap they fell 4%.

Shares of Gap climbed as much as nearly 6% in after-market trading.

The company also reaffirmed its full-year guidance, calling for earnings of $1.95 to $2.05 a share and for  same-store sales to be flat or increase 2%.

Gap CEO Art Peck.
Gap CEO Art Peck.

"We of course are not immune to any challenges facing the sector," CEO Art Peck said on a company earnings call. "But an 8% comp is an 8% comp [at Old Navy]. I am pleased with the progress we're making but we still have a lot of work to do and I can't dismiss the [challenged] environment we're working in."

To be sure, Gap still operates a bloated store base of 3,650 locations globally, and most are located in under-performing malls, so the sales growth was particularly noteworthy. On the call, Peck said Gap opened its first 8,000-square-foot "holistic" concept store in the first quarter, aimed at "leveraging technology to serve the customer."

Retailers across the board, from Macy's (M) to Fossil (FOSL) to J.C. Penney (JCP) to Kohl's (KSS) , have been reporting lackluster results for the first quarter, due in part to the late tax refunds which deterred consumers from shopping, but more so because of the ever-changing retail environment.

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