(NYSE: GPS) today reported diluted earnings per share of $0.44 on a reported basis, and $0.63 on an adjusted basis, excluding costs associated with the company's planned separation, tax impacts related to new guidance regarding the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, and costs related to the previously announced specialty fleet restructuring. Please see the reconciliation of adjusted diluted earnings per share, a non-GAAP financial measure, from the GAAP financial measure in the table at the end of this press release.
'We are operating in a challenging environment, but I remain confident in the strength of our brands and our plans for the future as we work to launch two independent, public companies,' said Art Peck, president and chief executive officer, Gap Inc. 'Heading into the second half of the year, we remain highly focused on inventory and expense discipline to improve results, as well as delivering exceptional product supported by powerful marketing to drive customer engagement.'
The company's second quarter fiscal year 2019 comparable sales were down 4% compared with a 2% increase last year. Comparable sales by global brand for the second quarter were as follows:
The company ended the second quarter of fiscal year 2019 with $2.33 billion in merchandise inventory, up about 6% year over year. The company noted that the increase in merchandise inventory was impacted by increases in in-transit times, the acquisition of Janie and Jack, which occurred in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, and net store growth year over year.
During the quarter, the company repurchased 2.7 million shares for $50 million and ended the second quarter of fiscal year 2019 with 376 million shares outstanding.
The company paid a dividend of $0.2425 per share during the second quarter of fiscal year 2019. In addition, on August 14, 2019, the company announced that its Board of Directors authorized a third quarter dividend of $0.2425 per share.
The company ended the second quarter of fiscal year 2019 with $1.5 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments. Year-to-date free cash flow, defined as net cash from operating activities less purchases of property and equipment, was $259 million compared with $220 million last year. Please see the reconciliation of free cash flow, a non-GAAP financial measure, from the GAAP financial measure in the tables at the end of this press release.
Fiscal year-to-date 2019 capital expenditures were $324 million.
The company ended the second quarter of fiscal year 2019 with 3,877 store locations in 44 countries, of which 3,356 were company-operated.
Earnings per Share
The company updated its reported diluted earnings per share guidance for fiscal year 2019 to be in the range of $1.88 to $2.08. The company affirmed its fiscal year 2019 adjusted diluted earnings per share guidance range of $2.05 to $2.15.
The company continues to expect comparable sales for fiscal year 2019 to be down low single digits.
Effective Tax Rate
The company now expects its reported fiscal year 2019 effective tax rate to be about 30%. Excluding the current quarter adjustments to our fiscal year 2017 tax liability for additional tax reform guidance and certain non-cash tax impacts related to expected restructuring charges, the company continues to expect its adjusted fiscal year 2019 effective tax rate to be about 26%.
The company continues to expect to repurchase approximately $50 million per quarter through the end of fiscal year 2019.
The company continues to expect capital spending to be approximately $675 million for fiscal year 2019, which includes about $100 million of expansion costs related to a headquarters building and a buildout of its Ohio distribution center. The company noted that it is assessing the amount of capital spending that will be needed to execute its planned separation and noted its capital expenditures guidance does not include separation-related capital spend.
The company continues to expect to close about 30 company-operated stores, net of openings and repositions in fiscal year 2019. This guidance also includes about 130 closures related to the Gap brand fleet restructuring, the majority of which are expected to close in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019. The company continues to expect store openings to be focused on Old Navy, Athleta and Gap China locations.
Webcast and Conference Call Information
Tina Romani, senior director of investor relations at Gap Inc., will host a summary of the company's second quarter fiscal year 2019 results during a conference call and webcast from approximately 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time today. Ms. Romani will be joined by Art Peck, Gap Inc. president and chief executive officer, and Teri List-Stoll, Gap Inc. executive vice president and chief financial officer.
The conference call can be accessed by calling 1-855-5000-GPS or 1-855-500-0477 (participant passcode: 210830). International callers may dial 1-323-794-2078. The webcast can be accessed at www.gapinc.com
This press release and related conference call and webcast contain forward-looking statements within the 'safe harbor' provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than those that are purely historical are forward-looking statements. Words such as 'expect,' 'anticipate,' 'believe,' 'estimate,' 'intend,' 'plan,' 'project,' and similar expressions also identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding the following: earnings per share for fiscal year 2019; comparable sales for fiscal year 2019; effective tax rate for fiscal year 2019; share repurchases per quarter through fiscal year 2019; capital expenditures for fiscal year 2019; store openings and closings, net of closures and repositions, and weighting by brand in fiscal year 2019; inventory levels in the back half of fiscal year 2019; impact of foreign exchange; inventory growth versus net sales growth; impact of improved inventory allocations based on channel demand and localization; capital investments needed to facilitate the separation transaction; restructuring related costs, including costs related to specialty store closures, in fiscal year 2019; costs associated with preparing for and executing the separation transaction; and gross margin trends in the back half of fiscal year 2019.
Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause the company's actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements.
These factors include, without limitation, the following risks, any of which could have an adverse effect on the company's financial condition, results of operations, and reputation: the risk that additional information may arise during the company's close process or as a result of subsequent events that would require the company to make adjustments to its financial information; the risks associated with our plan to separate into two independent publicly-traded companies, including that the separation may not be completed in accordance with the expected plans or anticipated timeframe, or at all; the risk that our plan to separate into two publicly-traded companies may not achieve some or all of the anticipated benefits; the risk that the company or its franchisees will be unsuccessful in gauging apparel trends and changing consumer preferences; the highly competitive nature of the company's business in the United States and internationally; the risk of failure to maintain, enhance and protect the company's brand image; the risk of failure to attract and retain key personnel, or effectively manage succession; the risk that the company's investments in customer, digital, and omni-channel shopping initiatives may not deliver the results the company anticipates; the risk if the company is unable to manage its inventory effectively; the risk that the company is subject to data or other security breaches that may result in increased costs, violations of law, significant legal and financial exposure, and a loss of confidence in the company's security measures; the risk that a failure of, or updates or changes to, the company's information technology systems may disrupt its operations; the risks to the company's business, including its costs and supply chain, associated with global sourcing and manufacturing; the risk of changes in global economic conditions or consumer spending patterns; the risks to the company's efforts to expand internationally, including its ability to operate in regions where it has less experience; the risks to the company's reputation or operations associated with importing merchandise from foreign countries, including failure of the company's vendors to adhere to its Code of Vendor Conduct; the risk that the company's franchisees' operation of franchise stores is not directly within the company's control and could impair the value of its brands; the risk that the company or its franchisees will be unsuccessful in identifying, negotiating, and securing new store locations and renewing, modifying, or terminating leases for existing store locations effectively; the risk of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations; the risk that comparable sales and margins will experience fluctuations; the risk that changes in the company's credit profile or deterioration in market conditions may limit the company's access to the capital markets; the risk that trade matters could increase the cost or reduce the supply of apparel available to the company; the risk of changes in the regulatory or administrative landscape; the risk of natural disasters, public health crises, political crises, negative global climate patterns, or other catastrophic events; the risk of reductions in income and cash flow from the company's credit card arrangement related to its private label and co-branded credit cards; the risk that the adoption of new accounting pronouncements will impact future results; the risk that the company does not repurchase some or all of the shares it anticipates purchasing pursuant to its repurchase program; and the risk that the company will not be successful in defending various proceedings, lawsuits, disputes, and claims.
Additional information regarding factors that could cause results to differ can be found in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended February 2, 2019, as well as the company's subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
These forward-looking statements are based on information as of August 22, 2019. The company assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise its forward-looking statements even if experience or future changes make it clear that any projected results expressed or implied therein will not be realized.
About Gap Inc.
Gap Inc. is a leading global retailer offering clothing, accessories, and personal care products for men, women, and children under the Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, Intermix, Janie and Jack, and Hill City brands. Fiscal year 2018 net sales were $16.6 billion. Gap Inc. products are available for purchase in more than 90 countries worldwide through company-operated stores, franchise stores, and e-commerce sites. For more information, please visit www.gapinc.com
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 The translation impact on net sales is calculated by applying foreign exchange rates applicable for the second quarter of fiscal year 2019 to net sales for the second quarter of fiscal year 2018. This is done to enhance the visibility of underlying sales trends, excluding the impact of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations.
 In estimating the earnings per share impact from foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations, the company estimates current gross margins using the appropriate prior year rates (including the impact of merchandise-related hedges), translates current period foreign earnings at prior year rates, and excludes the year-over-year earnings impact of balance sheet remeasurement and gains or losses from non-merchandise-related foreign currency hedges. This is done in order to enhance the visibility of business results excluding the direct impact of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations.
Please find out financial tables here.