Gap CEO predicts spending spree post-pandemic

Retailer plans on opening new Old Navy and Athleta stores

Gap Inc. executives said consumers are eager to buy the kinds of apparel that they have been able to forgo during much of the Covid-19 pandemic, predicting a rebound in sales in the second half of the year after a difficult 2020.

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“We’re quite optimistic,” Chief Executive Sonia Syngal said in an interview. “We do think there’s going to be this peacocking effect that happens, as people emerge from Covid.”

After the pandemic temporarily closed its stores and sapped demand for dresses and work attire, the company Thursday predicted net sales would increase by a mid- to high-teens percentage rate in 2021. The outlook anticipates a continued drag from the pandemic in the first half and a return to more normalized pre-pandemic sales in the second half of the year, the company said.

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Ticker Security Last Change Change %
GPS GAP 33.43 +0.66 +2.01%

In the quarter ended Jan. 30, a holiday surge in online shopping helped the company offset sales declines at its stores. Continued gains at Old Navy and Athleta were offset by another quarter of declines at the Gap and Banana Republic brands. Overall comparable sales—which excludes recently closed or opened stores—fell slightly, including a 49% gain in online sales.