Analysts Changing Views on Gap Inc.

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After markets closed Monday, The Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) reported same-store sales numbers for the month of July and for the company’s second fiscal quarter. Neither number was good news for the company or for its investors.

July same-store sales fell 4% globally on top of a 7% decline in July of last year. Second-quarter sales fell 3% on top of a 6% second quarter 2015 decline. The company’s Banana Republic stores continue to be the biggest drag, down 14% year over year in July and down 9% in the quarter. Old Navy same-store sales were flat with a year ago both on a monthly and a quarterly basis.

Analysts’ reactions to the report were muted, with most maintaining ratings and increasing their price targets. BofA Merrill Lynch, for example, noted that July comparable sales missed expectations as Gap’s store traffic worsens, and they pointed out that Old Navy was the only brand without major traffic regression. Their report also noted that gross margin is better than expected while pressure remains. The firm’s investment rationale describes where Gap is in this turnaround:

As the Gap brand struggles to turn, muted comp growth and pressured gross margins should cause multiple compression. The international and ecommerce businesses are growing rapidly, but the mature domestic business remains much more important to earnings for the foreseeable future, and consistent execution at all brands concurrently has been a problem.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but not bad given the company’s struggles. Here are other recent calls:

  • Deutsche Bank has a Sell rating on the stock but raised its price target from $18to $19
  • Mizuho raised price target from $17 to $24 and raises rating from Underperform to Neutral
  • Morgan Stanley raised its price target from $19 to $20 and rates the stock Underweight
  • RBC Capital Markets has a Sector Perform rating and raised its price target from $20 to $23
  • Robert W. Baird has a Neutral rating but raised its price target from $23 to $24
  • SunTrust Robinson Humphrey has a Neutral rating and raised its price target from $21 to $23

None of this is putting much wind in the stock’s sails in mid-afternoon trading Tuesday. Shares are down about 6.2% at $24.02 in a 52-week range of $17.00 to $35.57. The consensus 12-month price target on the stock is $21.15 but may not include these latest changes.