Retailer Gap Inc. to close 350 stores, move away from malls

Gap Inc., a fixture at shopping centers for decades, is moving away from the nation’s malls.

The retailer said that it will be closing 220 namesake stores and 130 Banana Republic stores in North America by early 2024.

The closures will leave of 80% of its remaining Gap stores at off-mall locations.

The announcement, made Thursday at the parent company’s investor meeting, detailed a three-year plan that calls for closing 30% of Gap and Banana Republic stores in North America, or a total of 350 stores, and focusing on outlets and e-commerce business.

The moves come as San Francisco-based Gap, along with other clothing retailers, are trying to reinvent themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many non-essential stores to temporarily close in the spring and early summer.

“We are harnessing the power of our brand,” said Mark Breitbard, president of the Gap brand. “We are radically restructuring to win.”

The closure of so many mall stores will be a blow to Indianapolis-based shopping center giant Simon Property Group. Gap Inc. has more than 390 stores at Simon’s malls, including its namesake brand, Old Navy and Banana Republic.

The closure plan will not affect Old Navy, which has been performing well and had plans to open more stores prior to the pandemic.

Simon filed a lawsuit against Gap Inc. in June that said the retailer owed it three months of rent it failed to pay early in the pandemic when stores were closed, totaling $65.9 million.

The retailer did not specify exact locations that would be closing. The Gap has stores at two Indianapolis malls: the Fashion Mall at Keystone and Castleton Square. The only remaining Banana Republic store is in the Fashion Mall.

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