Gap Inc is an apparel retail company. It offers apparel, accessories, and personal care products for men, women, children, and babies under the Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Piperlime, Athleta, and Intermix brands.
As has become an American tradition as ensconced as the Thanksgiving turkey, shoppers formed long queues in front of retail stores yesterday, with some even camping out, ahead of the doors opening for the Black Friday sales, which once again began on a Thursday.
J.C. Penney (JCP) and Macy's (M) opened on Thanksgiving for the first time, while Kmart (SHLD), Old Navy (GPS) and Lord & Taylor opened in the morning.
The National Retail Federation has forecast that up to 140M consumers will go shopping over the long weekend, up a bit from 139.4M last year. IBISWorld has projected that total sales through Cyber Monday will rise 2.2% to $40.5B.
Mobile traffic increased over 31% yesterday as smartphones accounted for more than 23% of all Internet traffic. By 6 pm, online sales were up 10% over last year.
To keep the crowds calm, Wal-Mart (WMT) handed out wristbands, Best Buy (BBY) used a ticketing system, and Target (TGT) had security staff ride segways in the parking lots to increase their visibility.
E-commerce sales this holiday season will rise 14% to 17% this year to top the marks of the last three years, forecasts Jefferies. Cyber Monday sales are tapped to see +20% Y/Y sales growth.
The ongoing channel shift away from brick-and-mortar becomes even more pronounced when auto, restaurants, and gas are backed out of retail sales tallies. Apparel sellers are forecast to be the hardest hit, although on-trend names such as Under Armour (UA), Macy's (M), Gap (GPS), and Lululemon (LULU) should outperform.
The strong Cyber Monday rush could hurt foot-traffic reliant chains such as TJX Companies (TJX), J.C. Penney (JCP), Barnes & Noble (BKS), Ultra Salon (ULTA), and DSW (DSW) - according to some trends dug up by Placed.com.
The positive read on e-commerce sales bodes well for Amazon (AMZN), Retailmenot (SALE), eBay (EBAY), Overstock. com (OSTK), and Blue Nile (NILE) - although high expectations are already likely factored into share price.
Gap (GPS +1.2%) says it will roll out a service to all of its Banana Republic stores in the U.S. that allows shoppers to reserve products online and then pick them up at stores.
Execs says early testing for the initiative at pilot stores has gone very well and more than 200 of the Gap brand stores will also have the service.
What to watch: Gap's reliance on omni-channel strategies continues to pay off as its back-end systems appear to be a step ahead of rivals. The company is also allowing cross-brand shopping to bring more online customers into the same Gap ecosytem.
A survey from Wedbush on holiday shopping trends tips off that a few retail chains might have an edge on their peers.
Pier 1 Imports (PIR -0.3%) and Gap (GPS -0.5%) are mild surprises to see ranking near the top of the investment firm's read on consumer preferences - while ongoing momentum from Michael Kors (KORS -0.7%) and Amazon (AMZN +0.1%) is no shocker.
Some retail analysts aren't getting giddy about the powerful sales reports turned in by Gap and L Brands.
Though management of both firms pushed the right levers to cut costs and drive sales with promotions, the gambit could run its course with underlying sales trends weak, warn skeptics.
The other side of the argument is that Gap and L Brands won market share at the expense of downtrodden mall rivals that failed to see their promotions click. The pair are also well-positioned to take advantage of the trend toward e-commerce shopping in apparel.