Apparel giant Gap Inc has suffered a 5 per slump in August net sales as negative trends continued.

Gap said that August net sales were $1.17 billion compared to net sales of $1.23bn in the same period last year. Same-store sales for the month fell 9 per cent compared with the 1 per cent slip recorded a year ago.

August same-store sales at Gap North America dropped 7 per cent compared to a 1 per cent decrease last year, Banana Republic North America same-store sales fell 6 per cent compared to static sales last year, Old Navy North America same-store sales slid 11 per cent compared to 1 per cent in 2004, and Gap International's same-store sales fell 6 per cent compared to a 10 per cent slump last year.

"The negative trends that we discussed on our second-quarter earnings call continued and as such, August sales results were disappointing and merchandise margins were slightly below last year," said Sabrina Simmons, senior vice president, treasury and investor relations.

Year-to-date net sales were $8.5bn - a 1 per cent slide from $8.6bn last year, with a 5 per cent same-store slip compared with a 3 per cent growth a year ago.

As of 25 August 2005, Gap operated 3,050 store locations compared with 3,016 store locations last year.

The company has shut its two most popular Internet stores, Gap.com and OldNavy.com, during the past week in order to upgrade operations. Banana Republic also closed its site for two days last week.