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New York & Company to Close Up to 26 Stores; Banana Republic Still Bruising Gap

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Gap Inc

Gap Inc. (GPS) chief executive Art Peck said he is “unsatisfied with the pace of improvement across the business” as sales at stores open for at least a year declined 2 percent in the second quarter ended July 30. Banana Republic comparable sales continued to slip in the three-month period, down 9 percent versus last year’s 4 percent decline. Gap fared a little better, posting a 3 percent decrease in comps compared with a 6 percent drop in the year-ago quarter. Old Navy struggled, too: same-store sales were flat versus last year’s 3 percent increase.

As a result, the San Francisco-based company’s net sales for the quarter were down from $3.9 billion to $3.85 billion. This would have been worse if not for the revenue pulled in by Athleta and Intermix, which grew from $177 million to $200 million. Gap Inc.’s diluted earnings per share were 31 cents and the company now expects full-year diluted earnings per share to be in the range of $1.37 and $1.47.

Ross Stores

Off-price operator Ross Stores (ROST) said Thursday that sales for the second quarter rose 7 percent to $3.181 billion, up from $2.968 billion a year ago, as a result of increasing its store count by 77. Comparable store sales growth was unchanged from 2015 at 4 percent. The company, which currently operates 1,317 Ross Dress for Less locations and 184 DD’s Discounts, posted a profit of $282 million in the period, up from $259 million last year. Diluted earnings per share for Q2 increased 13 percent, from 63 cents to 71 cents.

New York & Company

Strong trends across seasonal dresses, shorts and tops helped steer New York & Company (NWY) to deliver a 0.3% increase in comparable store sales in the three months ended July 30, though net sales fell from $235.7 million a year ago to $232.8 million. Even still, the specialty apparel chain swung from a loss of $0.1 million to a $0.9 million profit, or earnings per diluted share of 1 cent. It also announced plans to close one New York & Company location and open three others this quarter, while between 20 and 25 stores—including some Outlet locations—will shutter in Q4. The company will end the year with between 459 and 464 stores.

The Buckle

A 1.4% increase in online sales wasn’t enough to offset a 10.8% drop in comparable store sales at denim destination The Buckle (BKE), which saw net sales for the second quarter ended July 30 fall 10.1% from $236.1 million to $212.2 million. Net income for the quarter declined from last year’s $23.5 million or 49 cents per diluted share to $15.5 million or 32 cents per diluted share.

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