Gap dresses up 2012 sales results with 24% growth online

The apparel retailer’s stores and the web no longer compete, the CEO says.

Don Davis

Gap Inc. joins the ranks of retail chains highlighting online growth this week as they report their financial results.

Online sales grew nearly 24% for the retailer’s fiscal year, which ended Feb. 2, and 28% in the fourth quarter. “That was a very good performance by what everyone knows is a critical part of the company’s long-term growth strategy,” chairman and CEO Glenn Murphy told analysts on a conference call yesterday. Gap is No. 22 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

Among the other major retail chains reporting big growth in web sales this week were Macy’s Inc., No. 14 in the Top 500, Kohl’s Corp. (No. 28) and Nordstrom Inc. (No. 31).

Murphy emphasized the importance of Gap’s omnichannel strategy of making its bricks-and-mortar stores and e-commerce sites work together. He said the company took a big step toward eliminating competition between its stores and web businesses last fall when it restructured the company by its major brands—Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic—rather than by stores, online, outlets and international.

“When you take that kind of approach and think of something as simple as order online, reserve in the store, it doesn't matter whose P&L that goes under,” Murphy said.

For the 53-week fiscal year ended Feb. 2, Gap reported:

For the 14-week fourth quarter ended Feb. 2, Gap reported:

Murphy emphasized Gap’s growth in China since launching its first bricks-and-mortar stores and e-commerce site there in November 2010, though the company did not break out sales in that country. It also did not report on online shipments from distribution centers in China because Gap uses an outside company to fulfill orders in the country, a spokeswoman says. Murphy said the company opened 30 new physical stores in that country in 2012, and had 47 open at the end of 2012 as well as its e-commerce site, Gap.cn. The retailer plans to open 35 more stores in 2013. “China is a cornerstone of future growth for Gap Inc.,” he told analysts.

Gap is No. 199 in Internet Retailer’s newly released Asia 500, which ranks the top online retailers in the Asia-Pacific region.


Asia 500, Banana Republic, China, e-commerce earnings, financials, Gap, Glenn Murphy, international e-commerce, Old Navy, online apparel sales, Q4 earnings, retail chains, Top 500