by Stephen Garner

Gap Inc.Retailer Gap Inc. has finally seen some improvement in its sales.

The company’s fourth quarter fiscal year 2016 comparable sales were up 2 percent compared with a decline of 7 percent last year.

Old Navy delivered its fifth consecutive year of net sales growth in fiscal year 2016 and grew market share in key categories during the quarter, including dresses, denim and knits.

During the quarter, Gap brand’s operating model helped drive improved product acceptance across core categories and divisions. As part of its strategy to develop engaging digital experiences, Gap piloted a new application during the quarter, DressingRoom by Gap, to help customers virtually “try on” clothing through a smartphone augmented reality experience.

Athleta grew its footprint to 132 U.S. store locations by the end of 2016, and is scheduled to open about 15 additional U.S. stores in fiscal year 2017. The women’s performance lifestyle brand continues to be on the leading edge of fabric innovation, as demonstrated by the introduction of Sculptek, which features 360-degree stretch, and Powervita, its newest soft and supportive yoga fabric, in fiscal year 2016.

Mobile point of sale functionality expanded to about 20 percent of the Gap Inc. U.S. fleet in fiscal year 2016, enabling store associates to better serve their customers throughout their shopping experience.

For fiscal year 2016, the company’s comparable sales were down 2 percent compared with a decline of 4 percent last year. Old Navy is up 1 percent versus flat last year, Gap is down 3 percent versus negative 6 percent last year, and Banana Republic is down 7 percent versus negative 10 percent last year.

“We’re pleased to finish the year strong, with positive comp and sales growth during the critical holiday quarter,” said Art Peck, chief executive officer, Gap Inc. “Going forward, we will maintain our focus on improving the quality and relevance of our products, increasing our responsiveness to trends and demand, and creating more synergy across channels to deliver the experiences our customers want and expect, however they choose to shop.”

Teri List-Stoll, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Gap Inc., added: “We have many opportunities ahead to position the company for long-term growth, while keeping our attention focused on operating discipline.”