Gap Inc. (NYSE:GAP) shares received a ratings upgrade from Sector Weight to Overweight at KeyBanc today. The new product, gentle Forex environment, and increased apparel demand could result in improved performance, says analyst Edward Yruma. Shares traded up 1.40% at $29.64 as of 11:14 AM EDT Monday.
The apparel retailer has received encouraging early response for its February stock. “We believe that the new product more closely hews to Gap’s American casual aesthetic,” said Yruma. “Also, Gap seems to be less promotional and, in some cases, is now excluding product from promotions. Gap is working to improve the fit and quality of its product.”
Although the Northern Territory faces increased competition in the Old Navy brand (14% in March), Gap’s target market—the middle income ‘buy now, wear now’ customers—shouldn’t be affected. Also, a better weather is likely to bring better results for the brand.
While GSP has risen 19% over the 3-month period, the Street has mixed views on the stock. As of Monday, two analysts rate it a Strong Buy, one analyst gives it a Buy, 21 analysts give it a Neutral, while six analysts maintain a Sell rating on it.
In March, Morgan Stanley downgraded Gap due to structural weaknesses and less competitive value. Two of its main brands – Banana Republic and Gap –“lost relevance with consumers”, according to the analyst, and apparently hurt demand. However, KeyBlanc, which maintains a $36 price target on the stock, now sees the weakening dollar and new products as possible turnaround factors.