Gap Inc. 3Q EPS up 9%

SAN FRANCISCO Gap Inc. reported that earnings per share for the third quarter, which ended Oct. 30, increased 9% to 48 cents per share on a diluted basis, compared with 44 cents per share on a diluted basis last year. Net earnings decreased 1% to $303 million compared with $307 million for the third quarter last year.

Third quarter net sales were $3.65 billion compared with $3.59 billion for the third quarter last year. The company’s third quarter comparable-store sales were flat for fiscal years 2010 and 2009. The company’s online sales for the third quarter of fiscal year 2010 increased 15% to $342 million compared with $298 million for the third quarter last year.

“We improved the top line and grew our earnings per share this quarter while keeping a clear focus on North America and making strategic global investments, including new market entries in China and Italy,” said Glenn Murphy, chairman and chief executive officer. “Looking ahead, our brands and employees are determined to deliver for our customers this holiday through strong marketing and great product.”

The company reiterated its guidance for fiscal year 2010 diluted earnings per share of $1.77 to $1.82, which represents a 12% to 15% increase compared with $1.58 per share last year.