Gap Inc. (GPS) saw its stock jump nearly 10% in after-hours trading Thursday after it posted strong fourth-quarter earnings. Shares were trading at $34.75 at around 6 p.m. ET, up 9.6%.
The company, which owns the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta brands, posted higher net sales of nearly $4.8 billion vs. $4.4 billion this time last year — an 7.9% increase. The company also said net income totaled $205 million, down from $220 million in the same period last year, although the latest figure included some one-time items relating to the U.S. tax reforms and a fire-insurance settlement.
Earnings per share came in at 52 cents vs. 55 cents for the same period last year, although the latest EPS also reflected the one-time items. Excluding those, Gap reported 61 cents of EPS, beating the roughly 59 cents that analysts had expected.
Comparable-store sales rose 5% during the period vs. 2% in the same quarter last year. For Old Navy Global, consistently the company's strongest franchise, same-store sales came in at +9% vs. +5% at the same time last year. Similarly, Banana Republic Global's comps rose to +1% from a -3% last year, although Gap Global's comps showed no change.
For fiscal 2017 as whole, Gap Inc.'s total revenues rose to $15.9 billion, up from $15.5 billion in fiscal 2016. Net income for the year came to $848 million vs. $676 million a year earlier. On a per-share basis, Gap made $2.14 in the latest fiscal year (including one-time charges). That's well up from the $1.69 that the retail giant earned in fiscal 2016.
"Our strong positive comp and margin expansion during the critical holiday quarter affirms our balanced growth strategy," Gap CEO Art Peck said.
Gap also announced plans to hike the company dividend some 5% to 97 cents per share for fiscal 2018. Additionally, management said it expects fiscal 2018 earnings per share to range from $2.55 to $2.70, with same-store sales forecast as "flat to up slightly."