• Q4 profit up 3.9% to $319m
  • Sales rise 3% to $4.71bn
  • Analysts see "mixed performance" at namesake brand
Comparable store sales at Gap fell 5% during the full year

Comparable store sales at Gap fell 5% during the full year

Gap Inc has named a new head of design and product development for its namesake brand, after the unit continued to weigh on the company's sales during the fourth-quarter.

The San Francisco-based retailer said net income reached US$319m for the 13 weeks to 31 January, compared to $307m in the same period of the prior year. Net sales rose 3% to $4.71bn from $4.58bn last year, while comparable store sales climbed 2%.

During the full year, net income fell 1.4% to $1.26bn from $1.28bn a year ago. Sales were up 2% to $16.44bn from $16.15bn a year ago, driven by a 5% comparable store sales increase at Old Navy. Comparable store sales at Gap, however, fell 5%, while Banana Republic reported a flat performance.

Separately, the company revealed that Wendy Goldman will be rejoining the company, taking on the new role of head of design and product development for its namesake brand.

Goldman previously worked as senior director of product development at Banana Republic for eight years, before moving to Limited Brands (now known as L Brands), and most recently serving as chief product officer at apparel retailer C Wonder.

Commenting on the retailer's struggling namesake brand, Conlumino analyst Stephen Ward said: “In our view the central problem with the Gap brand is that it is creatively dull and does very little to change collections from season to season or year to year.”

As a result, he explained, the brand has become increasingly reliant on customers buying on a replacement cycle rather than being inspired to buy new products.

He added: “Looking ahead, we believe Gap will continue to deliver a very mixed performance.”

But CEO Art Peck noted: “Looking ahead at 2015, we will continue executing our global growth strategy, bringing new digital capabilities to life and making the shifts necessary to consistently deliver the brand-right, emotional product that our customers expect from all of our brands.”

“I’ve moved quickly to assemble a talented team of leaders who share my sense of urgency and, together, we’re focused and ready for the year ahead.”

For fiscal 2015, the Gap expected earnings per share to range from $2.75 to $2.80.