Gap Inc (NYSE:GPS) today reported comparable store sales for September 2000 were down eight per cent, compared to a seven per cent increase in September 1999. It had sales of $1.25bn for the five week period ended September 30, 2000, an increase of 12 per cent over sales of $1.12bn for the comparable period ended October 2, 1999.

Comparable sales by brand for September were as follows:
  • Gap Domestic: negative mid-single digit versus positive low-single digit last year
  • Gap International: negative high-single digit versus positive mid-teens last year
  • Banana Republic: negative mid-single digit versus positive low-double digit last year
  • Old Navy: negative mid-teens versus positive low-teens last year

Summarising results for the month, CFO Heidi Kunz said: "September comp and margin results came in below our expectations. We expect October to be a big clearance month for us. As such, margins clearly will be the pivotal factor in the earnings outcome for the quarter."

Ms Kunz added: "We continued to work through the Old Navy inventory backlog throughout the month. Results improved as stores received the fuller complement of inventory, including all items in our key categories."

Gap Inc president and CEO Millard Drexler said: "Our business continues to be challenging in a difficult apparel retail environment. Strong marketing and merchandising campaigns for holiday continue to be a priority. And we are making appropriate management changes to ensure we have the best talent to lead our business forward."

Year-to-date sales of $8.02bn for the 35 weeks ended September 30, 2000 represent an increase of 17 per cent over sales of $6.88bn for same period in 1999. The company's year-to-date comparable store sales decreased 5 percent compared to a prior year increase of 9 per cent.

As of September 30, 2000, Gap Inc operated 3,463 stores compared to 2,807 on October 2, 1999, an increase of 23 per cent.