Gap’s (GPS) planned spinoff of its Old Navy unit couldn’t have “more unfortunate” timing as the parent company’s fiscal first-quarter results missed views and its “golden” brand showed slowing demand, Wedbush Securities said in a note on Friday.
The analysts lowered their price target on Gap’s shares to $19 from $23 but maintained the company’s neutral rating. Shares plunged 10% on Friday.
The company in February announced it would spin off Old Navy, but it hasn’t provided a timeline for the move. However, while reporting quarterly results on Thursday that missed market expectations for sales, per-share earnings and comparable sales growth, Gap said Old Navy’s comparable sales fell 1% in the quarter against a 3% gain the year before.
Wedbush analysts, led by Jen Redding, said Old Navy is “the golden brand that fueled profitability for the total company over the last several years. (The) degree of slowing business calls into question both the likelihood and valuation of the recently announced spinoff.”
The firm said Gap management claimed after the earnings release there was improvement in its brands as the weather improved in March and April, and the analysts noted they saw slowing promotions.
“Although Old Navy’s results were disappointing, traffic at the $8B brand was flat compared to the industry, and market share gained in the quarter,” the analysts said, adding that “we remain in the sidelines as until improvement and Old Navy is solidified further into 2Q, we see more efficient uses of capital in the near term.”
Wedbush lowered its second-quarter per-share earnings estimate to $0.52 from $0.70 after Gap cut its full-year EPS view to between $2.04 and $2.14 from its prior outlook for $2.11 to $2.26. The analysts cut their net sales estimate to $4.04 billion from $4.07 billion on a consolidated comparable-sales decline of 2.8%
They said they expect Old Navy comparable sales to be flat while Gap core to fell 7%.
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