May 22, 2009, 12:00 AM

It’s a familiar story at Gap: web sales are up and store sales are down

The web once more outperformed stores and served as the only growth engine for Gap Inc. in the first quarter. Web sales rose by 13.1% as total revenue and comparable-store sales declined by 7.4% and 8%, respectively.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

The web once more outperformed stores and served as the only growth engine for Gap Inc. in the first quarter.

In the quarter ended May 2, e-commerce revenue for Gap, No. 25 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, increased by 13.1% to $267 million from $236 million in the first quarter of 2008. In comparison, total sales declined by 7.4% to $3.13 billion from $3.38 billion and comparable-store sales fell by 8%. The web accounted for 9% of sales in Q1 vs. 7% in the prior year. Gap posted net earnings of $215 million, a decrease of 13.7% from $249 million in the first quarter of 2008.

In the first quarter, Gap added Athleta.com, a women’s sports and active apparel brand, to its e-commerce platform and now has five major web stores. Gap also operates Gap.com, OldNavy.com, BananaRepublic.com and PiperLime.com. Athleta.com stocks a variety of sports apparel for women, including running, skiing, snowboarding, surfing and yoga clothing. “Athleta came on to our universal platform last month,” Gap CEO Glenn Murphy told analysts on the company’s first quarter earnings call. “The integration has gone very smoothly and they have a very good team.”

Gap acquired Athleta Inc. for about $150 million in cash in September. Gap says buying Athleta will help it tap the growing $31 billion women’s athletic clothing business in the U.S.

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