US apparel giant Gap Inc has reported a slump in first-quarter income, after its namesake division saw poor sales of women's spring collections.

First-quarter net earnings fell 7 per cent to $291 million from $312m last year, with a 1 per cent drop in net sales to $3.6 billion from $3.7bn a year ago.

Same-store sales decreased 4 per cent, compared with an increase of 7 per cent in 2004.

By division, Gap North America saw net sales of $1.2b compared to $1.3bn in 2004, while same-store sales dropped 4 per cent compared to an increase of 4 per cent a year ago.

Banana Republic North America's net sales totalled $512m compared to $503m, with a same-store sales fall of 4 per cent compared to an increase of 21 per cent last year.

Old Navy North America  reported net sales of $1.6bn compared to $1.5bn last year, while same-store sales dropped 6 per cent compared to growth of 9 per cent in 2004.

International net sales were $340m compared to $355m last year, while same-store sales  dropped 6 per cent compared to a decrease of 5 per cent last year

Gap Inc's president and chief executive officer Paul Pressler said: "Overall, our first quarter results were disappointing as we were up against record high earnings from last year".

The company now expects earnings per share of $1.44 to $1.48 for the 2005 financial year, compared to previous guidance of $1.41 to $1.45.