Gap Sales Down Almost Two-Thirds

Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) posted a 43% drop in revenue in the most recent quarter, compared with the same quarter a year ago, down to $2.1 billion. The company lost $938 million, compared with profits of $227 in the first quarter of 2019. The Gap has four brands. Its flagship brand did worse than the others, which leads to questions about its future.

Same-store sales fell 60% across all of Gap locations. Sales at its Old Navy shops dropped 60%, while online sales rose by 20%. Same-store Gap sales fell 64%, and its online sales were down by 5%. Banana Republic’s same-store sales were off 61% and online sales dropped 2%. Athleta same-store sales dropped 50%, but online sales rose 49%.

Gap has 3,911 stores worldwide. The economic environment likely will cause that figure to shrink. Old Navy North America has 1,208 locations. Gap North America has 667, Banana North America has 539 and Athleta has 191.

Gap brand’s online sales show the extent to which it is on the ropes. It needed at least to show, as the weakest brand in same-store sales, that it could partially offset declining store sales with improved e-commerce. That was not the case.

For many retailers, customers did go online. This was true of Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) among others. Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) rise in revenue was the anchoring example. People were willing to shop, even in a tough economic environment. If their customers did not demonstrate at least some demand, those retailers likely will struggle as the economy improves. However, a possible return of COVID-19 will begin the cycle of heavy e-commerce activity.

There is no sign the Gap brand can recover under any shopping circumstance.