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Gap (GPS) Dec Comps Up 5 Pct, Approves $1B Share Buyback; Buys Intermix

 January 03, 2013 08:39 AM

(By Balaseshan) Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) said its comparable store sales for the month of December increased 5% on top of last year's 4% decline. In addition, the retailer approved new $1 billion share repurchase authorization, and acquired Intermix Inc.

Following the news, shares of GPS rose 4.40% in premarket.

Comparable store sales from Gap North America rose 2%, while store sales from Banana Republic North America up 1%. Store sales from Old Navy North America grew 13%, while sales from International fell 6%.

Net sales for the five-week period ended December 29, 2012 were $2.08 billion, up from $1.98 billion for the five-week period ended December 31, 2011.

[Related -The Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS), L Brands Inc(NYSE:LTD): How November Comps Will Fare Post Black Friday?]

The company's year-to-date comparable sales increased 4%. Year-to-date net sales for the 48 weeks ended December 29, 2012 increased 6% to $14.52 billion from $13.72 billion.

In a separate release, Gap said it has purchased Intermix Holdco Inc., a multi-brand specialty retailer of luxury and contemporary women's apparel and accessories, based in New York for about $130 million in cash. The transaction was completed on December 31.

Intermix will continue to operate under the leadership of Keledjian, in the role of chief creative officer, and Adrienne Lazarus, president, both of whom will continue to be based in New York. They will report to Art Peck, president of Gap's Growth, Innovation & Digital (GID) division.

[Related -Store Intel: Gap Store (GPS), American Eagle (AEO), Abercrombie (ANF)]

Intermix operates 32 boutiques across North America, along with an e-commerce site, offering a mix of luxury brands including up-and-coming designers for customers seeking elevated fashion. Gap sees an opportunity to expand Intermix's network of stores, as well as add significant visibility and enhancements to its online site.

This acquisition extends Gap's portfolio of brands, building upon the success of the company's acquisition of Athleta in 2008 and the multi-brand, premium product offering at Piperlime.

Additionally, Gap said its board of directors approved a new $1 billion share repurchase authorization for the company's common stock, reinforcing its commitment to returning excess cash to shareholders.

The new $1 billion repurchase program for Gap's stock follows the company's previous $1 billion share repurchase program, which was completed during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012. The company repurchased about 17 million shares for about $539 million during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 to date.

GPS closed Wednesday's regular session up 1.06% at $31.37. The stock has been trading between $17.75 and $37.85 for the past 52 weeks.

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