Troubled apparel giant Gap Inc on Thursday announced an eight per cent slide in same-store sales for last month but said total July sales climbed one per cent to $956 million and raised its quarterly earnings outlook.

The California-based company, which sees its second-quarter earnings in the range of 4-5 cents per share, said total second quarter sales rose one per cent to$3.3 billion from $3.2bn in 2001, but same-store sales for the period fell seven per cent.

The operator of 4,261 stores, under the Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy banners, said July same-store sales at its domestic and international Gap chains fell 19 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively, with Banana Republic down six per cent but Old Navy up six per cent.

Commenting on July's sales results, CFO Heidi Kunz said: "Overall, July sales did not meet our beginning of month expectations, particularly at Gap Domestic. Our total company merchandise margins improved year over year in all divisions with the exception of International."

Also on Thursday, Gap named Gary Muto as president of its domestic Gap division, a role previously held by retiring CEO Mickey Drexler. Muto's prior role as president of Banana Republic will now be held by Maureen Chiquet, a merchandising executive at Old Navy.

Mr Drexler commented: "I've worked closely with Gary and Maureen for many years, and both have the creative merchandising skills and general management experience that's essential to leading Gap and Banana Republic.

"Gary understands Gap, knows how to get the best out of creative teams and has the management focus necessary to deliver great merchandising, marketing and design to our customers."

He added: "Maureen is part of the leadership team that created and built the Old Navy brand. Her broad merchandising skills and experience in growing and managing a multi-billion dollar brand will help Banana Republic continue to evolve its business."