Gap Shares Popped: What You Need to Know

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. Shares of retailer Gap (NYS: GPS) rose as much as 11% today after reporting strong February same-store sales.

So what: Gap, which had been expected by Wall Street to post a 1.4% same-store sales decline, posted a 4% comparable-store sales rise, aided by a 12% sales jump in Banana Republic versus a 4% decline last year. Gap's weak segment continues to be its international sales, which contracted by 9% in February.

Now what: Before you get too excited, you should know that this was Gap's first positive same-store comps since June and, as I said earlier, even a blind squirrel has to find a nut once in a while. The weather couldn't have been more conducive to Gap's sales, but I still don't feel it has the product that consumers want.

In addition, it isn't like Gap was the only retailer to benefit from warmer weather. Limited Brands' (NYS: LTD) same-store sales rose 8% versus the Street's 6.2% estimate. Macy's (NYS: M) same-store sales popped 4.6% versus the 3.5% consensus. Target's (NYS: TGT) February same-store sales rose 7% versus the 5.2% expectation. TJX (NYS: TJX) crushed expectations with a 9% same-store sales jump versus projections of 7%. I stand by my assessment that Gap is my choice as one of the worst stocks in the S&P 500 and am definitely not a buyer here after its anomalously good report.

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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong. The Motley Fool owns shares of Gap and Limited Brands. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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