What to Expect From Gap Earnings

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The Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) is scheduled to release its fiscal second-quarter financial results after the markets close on Thursday. The Gap brand is seen as struggling by some analysts ahead of its earnings report. The company saw muted growth in its brands in its July comparable sales report. The question is how this will factor into the coming earnings report.

The consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters call for $0.59 in earnings per share (EPS) on $3.79 billion in revenue. The same period from last year reportedly had EPS of $0.64 and $3.9 billion in revenue.

Just this past week, the company reported same-store sales numbers for the month of July and for the company’s fiscal second 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. Merrill Lynch, for example, noted that July comparable sales missed expectations as Gap’s store traffic worsens, and the firm pointed out that Old Navy was the only brand without major traffic regression. The report also noted that gross margin is better than expected while pressure remains.

Prior to the release of the earnings report, a few other analysts also weighed in on Gap:

  • Canaccord Genuity reiterated a Buy rating.
  • Cowen reiterated a Market Perform rating with a $25 price target.
  • Piper Jaffray reiterated an Underweight rating with a $23 price target.
  • Deutsche Bank has a Sell rating with a $19 price target.
  • Citigroup has a Neutral rating with a $24 price target.
  • JPMorgan reiterated a Sell rating.
  • RBC Capital Markets reiterated a Hold rating.
  • FBR has a Hold rating.
  • Wells Fargo has a Market Perform rating with a $26 price target.
  • Standpoint Research has a Hold rating.
  • Wolfe Research has an Outperform rating with a $30 price target.

So far in 2016, Gap has underperformed the broad markets, with the stock up only 6% in this time. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock is actually down 24%.

Shares of Gap closed Wednesday at $25.46, with a consensus analyst price target of $22.27 and a 52-week trading range of $17.00 to $34.16.