Gap posts big loss as sales fall 43% amid pandemic

07 Juin, 2020, 01:56 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • A cyclist looks at murals painted on a boarded up GAP store

U.S. clothing retailer Gap has reported a quarterly loss of nearly $1bn, after it had to close the vast majority of its stores worldwide during the coronavirus shutdown.

San Francisco-based Gap, which operates almost 2,800 stores in North America, said 55% company-operated stores in North American were now open.

Simon Property is suing the owner of Banana Republic, Old Navy and The Gap for $66 million in back rent and other charges related to its 412 stores in Simon malls, according to the complaint filed in Delaware State court on Tuesday.

However, the retailer's Q1 online sales increased 13% year-over-year and by 100% year-over-year in May. Sales plunged 43% in the quarter that ended May 2, but online sales for May were double what they were a year ago. Online sales fell for Gap and Banana Republic, which sells suits and cardigans.

Among other concepts, Old Navy Global's sales in the quarter were down 42 percent; store sales were down 60 percent with online sales up 20 percent as online growth has accelerated.

But it had a bad quarter over the holiday shopping season, posting a $184 million loss - its first quarterly loss in 18 years.

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The heavy losses included a $235m writedown on the value of stock and a $484m charge on its store and operating leases.

Liquidity-preserving measures taken during the quarter left Gap with $1 billion in cash on hand as of May 2, a bit more than it had a year ago.

The group said it had stopped paying rent for closed stores in April, extended its payment terms to suppliers and deferred its first-quarter dividend as it sought to cut costs and preserve cash.

More than 1,500 of its stores have now reopened and the company said it "had leveraged its omni capabilities to continue to serve customer demand online through its scaled e-commerce platform". The company had more than 2,600 North American stores at the end of 2019, and 3,700 stores worldwide.

The retailer, which is streamlining its fleet of retail stores, said it would prioritize closing some Gap stores and seek rent concessions for well-positioned stores that can not support the current rent structures.

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