Gap CEO Glenn Murphy to retire in February

Gap Chairman and CEO Glenn Murphy will retire on Feb. 1, the apparel retailer announced Wednesday.

Art Peck, the company's president of growth, innovation and digital, will take over as CEO, while director Bob Fisher will become chairman.

The company's shares fell 8 percent in after-hours trading.

Murphy has been chairman and CEO of Gap since July 2007. Under his leadership, the retail chain acquired multibrand store Intermix and athletic wear company Athleta, growing the fitness brand from an online-only label into a multiplatform player with a footprint of about 80 stores.

Shoppers walk past a Gap store in Chicago.
Getty Images
Shoppers walk past a Gap store in Chicago.

He also made the company an early adopter of strategies that integrate the physical and digital shopping experiences, including the ability for consumers to reserve items in-store. Recently, the company has ramped up its global expansion agenda, including plans to open about 40 franchise Gap stores in India.

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During his tenure, the company delivered a total shareholder return of more than 160 percent. In the last three years, its global sales have added more than $2 billion.

Murphy said that he has no plans beyond January; he just couldn't make the long-term commitment to Gap that's needed for its next stage. Both Murphy and Peck emphasized that it will be an orderly transition, and that the two are highly aligned in their strategy.

Incoming CEO Peck joined Gap in 2005. He previously served as president of Gap North America and as head of the company's outlet business, which he took global.

"With consumer expectations rapidly evolving, Art is the right leader at the right time to build on our success and ensure a compelling experience for our customers across both our physical and digital channels," Murphy said.

Sterne Agee's top pick
Sterne Agee's top pick   

Also Wednesday, the retailer said its comparable-store sales for September were flat compared to one year ago. Same-store sales at its namesake brand fell 3 percent; Banana Republic and Old Navy saw gains of 2 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

Recently, the Gap brand has been struggling over a series of fashion missteps that have forced it to significantly mark down its products in order to move inventory.

Its more fashionable Banana Republic brand has also experienced choppy sales, though Sterne Agee analyst Ike Boruchow, who said Gap is his top pick for the second half, wrote in a recent note to investors that the label "appears to have turned the corner."

The company's Old Navy brand has been the shining jewel in the Gap's portfolio, tapping the perfect mix of low prices and fashion, Boruchow said.

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In the most recent quarter, Gap posted negative same-store sales of 5 percent. Banana Republic's comparable-store sales were flat, while Old Navy's were up 4 percent.