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Gap's 1st-quarter profits rises 43 percent

May. 24, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

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

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

The latest results are welcome news for customers and investors who have watched Gap over the years flounder from an industry darling to a has-been. Gap's performance shows that efforts by the chain to attract customers with brightly colored fashions and lively ads are helping to boost sales continue to take hold.

Gap said it 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-ago period. Revenue rose 6.9 percent to $3.73 billion. Analysts had expected 69 cents per share on revenue of $3.73 billion.

Report: Coal exports support W.Va. jobs

CHARLESTON -- The National Mining Association says exports helped support nearly 24,000 coal jobs in West Virginia in 2011.

That's based on a new study the industry group commissioned. It says about 35 million of the 131 million tons produced in West Virginia was exported that year.

Nationwide, the State Journal reports, growing exports to Europe and Asia have helped boost the U.S. economy and job creation.

Overall, the report released Wednesday shows that coal exports added $16.6 billion to the U.S. economy in 2011.

Preliminary figures for 2012 show a record 126 million tons exported nationwide.

But the U.S. Energy Information Administration expects a big drop in that number this year.

Bon-Ton's 1st-quarter loss beats expectations

YORK, Pa. -- The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. narrowed its fiscal first-quarter loss on fewer markdowns and improved revenue at its chain of department stores.

The quarter's results came in ahead of market expectations and the company reaffirmed its full-year outlook. Bon-Ton owns Elder Beerman, which has more than two dozen stores in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky, including Huntington and Ashland.

The company posted a loss of $26.6 million, or $1.41 per share, for the quarter that ended May 4. That is compared with a loss of $40.8 million, or $2.23 per share, in the same quarter last year. Its total revenue increased to $661.9 million from $654.3 million.

Bon-Ton's President and CEO Brendan Hoffman said that the quarter reflected the company's progress on its strategic initiatives.

Coalfield counties still see high unemployment

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Appalachian coalfield counties are continuing to log the highest unemployment rates in Kentucky.

The Kentucky Office of Employment and Training released April figures on Thursday showing the coalfields with unemployment rates ranging from 13.3 percent in Jackson County to 16.9 percent in Magoffin County.

A slumping coal industry is being blamed.

Leslie County, which is dependent on the coal industry, reported the second highest jobless rate in the state at 15.8 percent. Fulton County, in far western Kentucky, ranked third at 15.6 percent. That was followed a clump of Appalachian counties with historically high jobless rates.

Woodford County in central Kentucky had the lowest unemployment at 5.4 percent, followed by Oldham County and Fayette County at 5.6 percent and 5.9 percent respectively.