The Gap’s Winning Weekend

In somewhat surprising news, given the retail brand’s struggles over the years, the Gap has been crowned the “winner” of the Black Friday shopping weekend, according to Wall Street.

While mall and department store shopping in general was more robust that analysts were expecting, the Gap and Old Navy were particularly big shockers.

“Traffic and conversion appeared solid on Black Friday, despite sales continuing to be dispersed throughout the entire weekend and an ongoing migration of Black Friday shopping online,” wrote Jefferies Analyst Randal Konik. “Old Navy and Gap both offered a 50 percent off storewide sale, essentially flat to last year, which seemed successful in driving traffic and conversion. We believe [the] holiday is off to a strong start at the Gap and reiterate our buy rating.”

The Gap also had a better year than the market in general, stock price-wise — up 32 percent year over year as opposed to the S&P 500’s 16 percent climb. Shares closed up 1.2 percent on Monday.

“Old Navy was the on-mall holiday weekend winner, followed by American Eagle and Express,” SunTrust Analyst Pamela Quintiliano wrote. “Our biggest surprise was mall traffic, which was above our expectations, despite online continuing to gain broad-based momentum. Throughout the weekend, traffic and conversion were consistently higher than we have seen in years.”

Quintiliano also noted Black Friday sale offerings were essentially identical to last year’s, which also bodes well for the retail chain, as it shows the brand doesn’t have to cut deeper to attract consumer appeal.

Moreover, she said that while Old Navy has looked strong all year, even the namesake Gap brand was looking pretty strong all of a sudden.

“You know, Gap, Old Navy? There were lines out the door,” Quintiliano added. “Gap is probably the one that’s going to be one of the surprising ones.”


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