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Gap raises profit forecast, dividend

A Gap Inc. clothing store is shown at the Cable Car turn in San Francisco, California August 21, 2008. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
A Gap Inc. clothing store is shown at the Cable Car turn in San Francisco, California August 21, 2008. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

(Reuters) - Gap Inc on Thursday reported a higher second-quarter profit, helped by the sales gains at its namesake and Old Navy chains and online, leading the clothing retailer to raise its full year profit forecast and dividend.

The apparel retailer, which also operates the Banana Republic chain, now expects a profit for the year ending in February of $2.57 to $2.65, five cents above its previous range. The company also raised its annual dividend to 80 cents per share from 60 cents.

As previously reported by Gap, the company's sales rose 8.1 percent to $3.87 billion, while comparable sales rose 5 percent.

Gap earned 64 cents per share for the second quarter, in line with its own revised forecast when it reported July sales earlier this month, and Wall Street expectations.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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