NEW YORK -- Gap raised its earnings per share outlook for the year on Thursday, after its summer lineup helped boost second-quarter results and advanced the San Francisco company's turnaround push.
The higher guidance was short of Wall Street expectations, but the company also hiked its annual dividend by 20 cents, or 33 percent, to 80 cents per share. Its shares rose 1 percent to $42.43 in aftermarket trading. Over the past year, the stock is up 21 percent.
Gap owns Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, Athleta and Intermix stores, in addition to its namesake chain. The company is the nation's largest mall-based clothing chain operator, and its results provide insight into consumer spending.
Since early last year, Gap has been invigorating sales with more brightly-colored clothing, designer collaborations and livelier stores. Last October, the company also announced a management overhaul to help it respond more quickly to shifting tastes around the world.
The change put the North American, international, online, outlet and franchise divisions under a single global executive for each of the company's brands. The company also formed a new innovation and digital strategy team.
Gap's more upbeat outlook represents a bright spot in the broader industry. Major retailers including Wal-Mart, Target and Macy's have lowered their expectations for the rest of the year, citing the uncertain economy.
As Gap reported earlier this month, sales at stores open at least a year was up 5 percent for the three months ended Aug. 3. Gains at Gap and Old Navy offset a decline at Banana Republic.
The company earned $303 million, or 64 cents per share, which was on the high-end of its latest guidance of 62 cents to 64 cents per share. Analysts on average expected 63 cents per share.
A year ago, the company earned $243 million, or 49 cents per share.
Revenue rose 8 percent to $3.87 billion, in line with Wall Street expectations.
Gap now expects to earn between $2.57 and $2.65 per share for the full year, up from the previous forecast of $2.52 to $2.60 per share.
Analysts had forecast earnings of $2.77 per share for the full year, according to FactSet.