Mind the Gap

The week ahead will be loaded with tech stocks such as Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU  ) and Applied Materials (Nasdaq: AMAT  ) reporting their quarterly earnings. Even some forgotten highfliers that landed hard such as Cienna (Nasdaq: CIEN  ) and Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL  ) will be announcing their results.

However, this week may ultimately belong to the retail sector as consumer magnets such as J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP  ) and Home Depot (NYSE: HD  ) step up to provide a quarterly glimpse.

But it will be Gap (NYSE: GPS  ) that ultimately piques my interest the strongest. After the company's financials peaked in 1999, the company behind Old Navy, Banana Republic, and its own namesake concepts suffered through three painful years of declines at the store level. The company turned things around in 2003, but it wasn't a complete victory. The 7% spike in comps won back only a third of the cash register defections over the previous years.

That's why 2004 was so important. It started off nicely too until earlier this month when the company announced that it would miss its July quarter profit guidance after suffering a 7% dip in comps last month.

So we already know that Gap's reflection come Thursday is going to be a denim dud. The real question here is whether July was simply an anomaly or whether the retailer continues to experience that weakness into August. The company has a long way to go before completing its turnaround. If you thought otherwise you simply fell into Gap's gap.

Where does Gap go from here? What would you do to reenergize the company? All this and more in the Gap Inc. discussion board. Only on Fool.com.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks that Banana Republic should get into the produce market. No, of course not. He's just kidding. Really. He does not own shares in any companies mentioned in this story.


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