(By Balaseshan) Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) reported a jump in quarterly earnings helped by strong sales across its segments. Results exceeded Street's expectations and the specialty apparel retailer raised its fiscal 2012 earnings guidance, sending its shares up 1.40% in aftermarket.
Earnings for the second quarter grew 29% to $243 million, while earnings per share (EPS) jumped 40% to $0.49 from $0.35.
Sales increased 6% to $3.58 billion. Comparable sales for the latest quarter increased 4%.
Analysts, on average, polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a profit of $0.48 per share on sales of $3.53 billion.
Sales from Gap division increased 4.1% to $1.33 billion, while Old Navy sales rose 3% to $1.39 billion. Banana Republic sales grew 8.6% to $670 million, while Franchise sales climbed 25% to $80 million. Piperlime and Athleta sales rose to $100 million from $73 million.
Sales from U.S. grew to $2.42 billion from $2.36 billion, while sales for regions outside of North America rose to $551 million from $515 million.
Looking ahead into the fiscal 2012, the company raised its EPS guidance to range of $1.95 to $2.00 from previous forecast of $1.78 to $1.83, while Street predicts $2.08. The revised outlook represents a 25% to 28.2% increase over fiscal 2011 EPS of $1.56, while Street expects 37.10% growth.
The company raised its operating margin outlook for fiscal 2012 to about 11% from previous forecast of about 10%. Effective tax rate is still anticipated to be about 39.5%. The company expects to pay $0.50 per share in dividends for fiscal 2012.
GPS closed Thursday's regular session down 0.78% at $34.34. The stock has been trading between $15.08 and $34.92 for the past 52 weeks.