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Gap’s 1st-quarter profits rises 43 percent

Gap’s shares have more than doubled to about $41 since the start of 2012.

Jae C. Hong /Associated Press

Gap’s shares have more than doubled to about $41 since the start of 2012.

NEW YORK — After years of struggling, the Gap is back in style.

Gap Inc., which owns the Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic clothing chains, reported a 43 percent increase in fiscal first-quarter net income as it continues to reap benefits from the turnaround plan it began early last year. The company also reiterated its full-year earnings outlook.

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The results are welcome news for customers and investors who have watched Gap flounder from an industry darling to a has-been. The performance shows that efforts to attract customers with brightly colored fashions and lively ads are helping to boost sales.

Gap earned $333 million, or 71 cents per share, for the three-month period ended May 4. That compares with $233 million, or 47 cents per share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose 6.9 percent to $3.73 billion. Analysts had expected 69 cents per share on revenue of $3.73 billion.

Revenue at stores opened at least a year — an industry measurement of a retailer’s health — rose 2 percent for the entire chain.

Gap fell out of favor with customers after the turn of the century. Poor fit, boring fashions, and drab colors hurt the flagship brand. But Gap is striking the right note these days. It has made several changes, including a management overhaul, new ads, and partnerships with other designers.

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