UPDATE 2-Gap beats Wall Street's profit estimates
* Q1 EPS $0.47 vs est $0.46
* Raises FY EPS view to $1.78-$1.83
* Q1 comparable sales at major brands rise
* Shares up 8 pct (Adds share movement, details on sales, background)
May 17 (Reuters) - Gap Inc raised its yearly profit forecast, prompted by first-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street estimates and by rising sales, sending its shares up 8 percent in extended trading.
For the first quarter ended April 28, the owner of the Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic chains earned $233 million, or 47 cents a share, compared with $233 million, or 40 cents a share, last year.
Analysts, on average, were expecting Gap to earn 46 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
After years of being accused of selling boring clothes, Gap has recently regained an edge in fashion - after a prolonged turnaround which included a change in top management.
The company's Spring merchandise is selling well, and its website has been revamped with a more youthful look.
Gap, the third biggest clothes retailer in the world after Zara, owned by Inditex, and H&M, owned by Hennes & Mauritz AB, had preannounced that sales rose 6 percent to $3.49 billion, while comparable store sales were up 4 percent.
During the quarter, sales at established North American stores rose 5 percent each for the Gap and Banana Republic brands. Sales at Old Navy stores rose 4 percent, the company said.
For the full year, Gap estimates earning $1.78 to $1.83 a share, above the $1.75 to $1.80 it had forecast in February.
Gap shares rose to $28.50 after the bell. They closed down 2.9 percent at $26.31 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Chicago; Editing by Andre Grenon, Phil Berlowitz and Richard Chang)
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