Gap (NYSE:GPS) is reporting a rather slow start to 2014, as well as a relatively sluggish end to fiscal 2013. The company said its comparable-store sales for the month grew by only 1% on a year-over-year basis. That's down notably from the January 2013 figure, which was 8%.

That same 1% was the increase recorded by the company for its Q4 "comps." As with the monthly rate, it is below the year-ago result, which was 5%.

In terms of net sales, Gap's figure was $899 million for January 2014, down from the $1.13 billion in the same period the previous year. For the quarter, those numbers were $4.58 billion, versus the Q4 2012 tally of $4.73 billion.

In spite of the marginal improvements and the lower sales figures, the firm managed to sound an upbeat note in the press release detailing the figures. It quoted CEO Glenn Murphy as saying that "we're pleased to deliver a strong finish to the year, with another month and quarter of comp sales growth."

Perhaps his optimism stemmed from the wider picture -- the company also released guidance for Q4, projecting EPS of $0.65 to $0.66. This would top the current average analyst estimate of $0.60. 

Meanwhile, for the year ended on February 1, 2014, the company recorded sales of $16.2 billion. This compared favorably to the $15.7 billion it booked the preceding year.

Gap is scheduled to release a full set of Q4 results on February 27.

Eric Volkman has no position in Gap. Nor does The Motley Fool. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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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