Clothing giant Gap Inc has already begun discounting spring clothing at its Gap and Old Navy stores with some analysts saying today they see this as indication early sales are not matching expectations.

Gap sent coupons offering 20 per cent off its spring clothing ranges to online shoppers this week - just days after its spring clothes were introduced into its stores, while on its Old Navy web site there are coupons offering discounts of up to 15 per cent.

"This definitely signals that things are not moving quite as well as they hoped," Kindra Hix, retail analyst at Fulcrum Global Partners, told Reuters.

"Everybody, not just Gap, has planned their inventories lean with the hope that promotions wouldn't have to be as aggressive or as rapid. But it could be the customer was trained to buy on markdown, regardless of how lean the inventory was."

However, Gap is not offering similar deals at its Banana Republic stores, which have performed better than its other units in recently.

Hix added: "I do think Banana is doing better. But it's only 15 per cent of the business, so you really need Gap and Old Navy to improve before you get excited about it."