International News - Changes put Gap back in profit

Fashion retailer Gap has returned to profit, reporting a net income of US$477 million (£298.9 million) for the year to February 1, compared with a US$8 million (£5 million) net loss the previous year.

Sales rose 4 per cent to US$14.5 billion (£9.08 billion) while like-for-like sales fell by 3 per cent compared with a decrease of 13 per cent last year. However, fourth quarter sales increased by 8 per cent compared with a 16 per cent decrease the year before.

Gap president and chief executive Paul Pressler said customers are responding well to product changes. The company's four divisions - Gap US, Gap International, Banana Republic and Old Navy - all reported positive fourth quarter like-for-like figures.

Overall net sales at Gap US fell by US$100 million (£62.6 million) to US$5.1 billion (£3.19 billion), but rose at Gap International by the same amount to US$1.7 billion (£1.06 billion). Sales at Banana Republic were flat at US$1.9 billion (£1.19 billion), while Old Navy added US$700 million (£440 million), in sales up to US$5.8 billion (£3.63 billion).

Pressler said: 'We will continue to focus on improving our balance sheet, managing costs and creating sustainable growth strategies.'