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Gap closing 1 in 3 U.S. stores

9:08 AM, Oct 14, 2011   |    comments
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Gap Inc. plans to close more than 100 of its namesake stores in the U.S. by the end of 2013.

At an investor meeting in New York, Gap executives said that by the end of 2012, Gap Inc. will have reduced its total real estate square footage in North America by 10 percent compared to 2007 levels.

Gap brand will cut its square footage 34 percent overall, resulting in 700 U.S. and Canada Gap stores and 250 Gap Outlet stores at the end of 2013. The closings are part of a company strategy to reduce its total square footage across all brands, and Gap in particular.

As of July 30, Gap brand had 998 stores in the U.S., including 27 in Georgia, and 93 in Canada.

Old Navy will also reduce its square footage in North America. While the company hopes to hold steady at about 1,020 stores, it is looking to shrink the average Old Navy footprint, removing up to 1 million square feet of selling space from the store fleet by the end of 2013.

International sales and emerging brands like Athleta and Piperlime remain Gap Inc.'s primary growth vehicles, as does e-commerce, the company said.

Indeed, Athleta and Piperlime appear to be the only brands that will add North American square footage in coming years.

Gap Inc. plans to test a bricks-and-mortar Piperlime store concept next year. A similar test of Athleta led to the activewear brand opening its first flagship in Fillmore Street in San Francisco in Jauary; Athleta will have 10 North American stores open at the end of this fiscal year and is targeting 50 stores open by the end of 2013.

(Atlanta Business Chronicle)

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