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Gap 1Q outlook tops Street view after strong April sales; shares climb

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - Retailer Gap said its sales climbed in April and it forecast first-quarter results that were better than Wall Street had expected.

Gap's shares rose 4.5 per cent to $41 in aftermarket trading.

The San Francisco-based company said that its sales at stores open at least a year, a key retail benchmark, rose 9 per cent. The company says its Old Navy chain did particularly well. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a gain of 0.5 per cent.

And for the quarter that ended in April, Gap expects net income of 56 to 57 cents per share on a sales gain of 1 per cent, to $3.77 billion. It forecast that sales at stores open at least a year fell 1 per cent.

That topped Wall Street's prediction. Analysts polled by FactSet expected profit of 54 cents per share on revenue of $3.69 billion.

The latest results from Gap come after a tough winter for many retailers, with severe storms hurting sales. A late Easter this year also hurt March sales. But the arrival of warm weather seems to be warming up shoppers' appetites for spring clothes.

Gap is scheduled to report its full first-quarter results on May 22.

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