Clothing retailer Gap Inc today reported a drop in December same-store sales at its Gap overseas, Banana Republic and Old Navy stores.

The San Francisco-based company said total same-store sales for December 2004 decreased 1 per cent, with Gap US same-store sales bucking the trend with a 2 per cent increase.

However, Gap International slipped 7 per cent, Banana Republic was down 2 per cent and Old Navy dropped 1 per cent on the same month last year.

"The month of December ended strong, despite somewhat disappointing overall December sales," said Sabrina Simmons, senior vice president, treasury and investor relations.

"Our promotional strategies allowed us to move through inventory in a disciplined manner and we are well prepared for the first flow of spring merchandise."

The company said in a statement that net sales of $2.6 billion for the five-week period ended 1 January 2005 represent a 2 per cent increase over last year's $2.5 billion.

Year-to-date, net sales of $15.4 billion for the 48 weeks ended 1 January 2005 increased 3 per cent compared with net sales of $14.9 billion for the same period in 2004.

As of 1 January 2005 Gap Inc operated 3,049 store locations compared with 3,059 store locations last year.