Gap's key sales metric up 3 percent for holiday period, helped by surging sales at Old Navy

Gap Inc. said late Thursday that a key revenue metric rose 3 percent for the November and December period, as surging sales at its low-priced Old Navy chain offset sluggish business at its namesake business.

For December alone, the figure rose 1 percent, slightly above Wall Street estimate for a 0.7 percent increase, according to Thomson Reuters.

The results offer some encouraging signs for the San Francisco-based company, which hit a rocky patch this year after enjoying a turnaround since early 2012.

In November, the San Francisco-based company announced leadership changes at its Gap and Banana Republic brands. The moves were spearheaded by Art Peck as he takes on the role of CEO of Gap Inc. in February, succeeding Glenn Murphy who has been at the helm since 2007. Peck, a 10-year-veteran at Gap, had been its digital leader overseeing new innovations that cater to mobile-savvy shoppers

The retailer reported after the markets closed that total sales for December rose 2 percent to $2.1 billion from $2.05 billion in the year-ago period.

By brand, Gap's key metric called revenue at stores opened at least a year, was down 5 percent in December, while Banana Republic's sales were unchanged from a year ago. Old Navy's revenue at stores opened at least a year rose 8 percent in December.

Revenue from stores open at least a year is considered a key indicator of retail performance because it strips away the impact of recently opened or closed stores

The company has more than 3,200 company-operated stores and more than 400 franchise stores, along with its online shopping sites.

Shares of Gap Inc. fell nearly 2 percent, or 76 cents, to $42.34 in after-market trading, after slipping 50 cents to $43.10 in regular hours.