Gapping Gap Earnings & Buybacks (GPS)

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Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) reported $0.21 EPS (before a $0.02 charge) on revenues of $3.69 Billion, and First Call estimates were $0.19 EPS on $3.7 Billion in revenues.  Keep in mind that the company’s revenues were already known.

GUIDANCE: The company revised its guidance for fiscal year 2007 diluted earnings per share on a GAAP basis to $0.83 to $0.88 from its previous guidance of $0.76 to $0.86. The company also revised its guidance for fiscal year 2007 diluted earnings per share, excluding expenses associated with the discontinued operation of Forth & Towne and the company’s cost reduction initiatives, to $0.90 to $0.95, compared to its previous guidance of $0.80 to $0.90.

BUYBACKS, PLUS MORE BUYBACKS: During the second quarter, the company repurchased 11 million shares for $200 million, thereby completing a $750 million share repurchase authorization which was announced in August 2006.  the company announced that its board of directors authorized an additional $1.5 billion share repurchase program, and that it has entered into purchase agreements with individual members of the Fisher family whose ownership represents approximately 17 percent of the company’s outstanding shares. The company expects that about $250 million (approximately 17 percent) of the $1.5 billion share repurchase program will be purchased from these Fisher family members.

MARGIN, TAX RATES, & GROWTH: The effective tax rate was 37 percent for the second quarter of 2007. The company continues to expect the effective tax rate will be about 39 percent for full year 2007. Gross margin of 34.3 percent increased 1.3 points in the second quarter compared to the prior year. Operating margin for the second quarter was 6.1 percent. The company reaffirmed that it expects operating margin for fiscal year 2007 to be in the high single-digits.  For the first half of fiscal year 2007, the company opened 73 store locations, closed 61 store locations and square footage increased 1 percent. The company reaffirmed that it expects to open 30 store locations on a net basis for fiscal year 2007. This includes about 230 store openings, weighted toward Old Navy, and about 200 closures, weighted toward Gap brand.

This is Glenn Murphy’s first quarterly report as CEO.  Gap shares are up almost 3% to $17.90 in after-hours trading and that is after closing down 0.5% at $17.40 in regular trading.

Jon C. Ogg
August 23, 2007

Jon Ogg can be reached at jonogg@247wallst.com; he does not own securities in the companies he covers.