Same-store sales at Gap Inc, the US' largest specialty clothing retailer, fell 8% in October, but the company took some consolation from the fact its margins were significantly higher than last year.

Net sales fell 1% to $1.23bn from $1.24bn in the four weeks to 3 November the San Francisco based company said.

By division, same-store sales fell 7% at Gap North America, dropped 2% at Banana Republic North America, and were down 11% at Old Navy North America. International sales were 6% lower than last year.

"While comparable store sales were down in October, merchandise margins were significantly above last year," said Sabrina Simmons, executive vice president of Gap Inc finance.

"The results reflect our stated strategy of managing inventory tightly to support margin improvements."

For the third quarter period, total sales were flat with last year, at $3.85bn, while comparable store sales decreased 5%.

By division, Gap North America fell 6%, Banana Republic North America rose 1%, Old Navy North America was down 8%, and International same-store sales dropped 4%.