Gap shifts focus to Old Navy, Athleta, shutting 200 stores

Gap shifts focus to Old Navy, Athleta, shutting 200 stores

Gap Inc.is shifting its focus to its growing brands Old Navy and Athleta and away from its Banana Republic and namesake Gap brands. Gap added that the strategy also includes the closure of about 200 underperforming Gap and Banana Republic specialty locations.

Over the coming years, the firm anticipates Old Navy to exceed $10, whereas, Athleta to exceed $1 bn in net sales powered by the growth in online and mobile channels. Gap declined to specify how many of each brands' stores will close or where the soon-to-be shuttered stores are located.

Speaking at a retail conference Wednesday, Gap CEO Art Peck described the sales downturns at Gap and Banana Republic as "significant and acute", and admitted the company made "creative missteps" in its efforts to keep the brands competitive.

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Both of those brands offer low-price, on-trend apparel that are proving highly popular among consumers, while the higher-priced Gap and Banana Republic brands continued to fall out of favor.

Meanwhile, Old Navy has done relatively well, with sales up five percent last month.

"We are not releasing detailed information about a specific opening date, but I can confirm though, that Athleta is planning to open our first store in Little Rock later this year, which is also our first store in Arkansas", said Laura Hogya, a spokesman for the San Francisco chain. The company plans to reinvest a portion of productivity related savings in its growth initiatives, providing opportunity for margin expansion.

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