This Iconic Clothing Company Is About to Close 100 Stores

This popular apparel store took a major hit amid the pandemic.

Gap Inc., the parent company for Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta, and several others, has had a tumultuous ride lately. Two of the company's brands—Old Navy and Athleta— have been thriving amid the chaos of the pandemic, while two others—Gap and Banana Republic—have sunk to disastrous lows. In response, the company vowed in a sales call this week to close 100 Gap and Banana Republic stores across the globe to focus on their more lucrative apparel lines and online sales. Read on for more on these iconic closures, and for news on a store that bit the dust during the pandemic, This Beloved Chain Is Closing All of Its Stores.

Despite their plans to close these brick and mortar locations, Gap, Inc. has reason for optimism, CNBC reports: Gap shares are up 75 percent over the past 12 months, and the market cap stands at $9.46 billion. Yet the company has acknowledged that some of their brands are currently compensating for sales dips in others.

"Same-store sales for Gap's athletic apparel brand Athleta grew 26 percent year over year, and they were up 7 percent at Old Navy," CNBC reports. However, Gap stores saw same-store sales dip 6 percent, while Banana Republic's plummeted 22 percent.

It's not just flagging in-store sales that have Gap Inc.'s namesake brand eager to make changes: the brand's online sales have soared by 49 percent during the quarter ending Jan. 30, and offloading the costly operation of brick-and-mortar stores in favor of e-commerce can help offset the company's overall sales dip.

Already, there are signs of a rebound. Gap, Inc. "swung to a profit, thanks to its efforts to sell more merchandise at full price and progress in shuttering underperforming stores," CNBC reports, and they're already planning expansion. The company will open between 30 and 40 Old Navy stores, as well as 20 to 30 Athleta stores globally over the course of 2021. Wondering how other stores are faring amid COVID? Read on for more companies that have crumbled during the pandemic, and for more on surprising store closures, This Popular Beauty Brand Is Shutting Down for Good.

1
The Disney Store

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After a difficult year of sales, The Walt Disney Co. announced on Mar. 3 that it plans to close at least 20 percent of its Disney Store locations in an effort to focus on online sales and e-commerce, CNBC reports. While their plans will not affect any of the 600 shopping experiences the company offers in Disney Parks or partnerships with other major retailers including Target, they expect to shutter 60 North American stores in coming months.

"While consumer behavior has shifted toward online shopping, the global pandemic has changed what consumers expect from a retailer," Stephanie Young, president of consumer products, games, and publishing, said in a statement, via People. And for the latest store closure news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

2
Victoria's Secret

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Iconic lingerie chain Victoria's Secret was struggling before the pandemic, but the past twelve months of temporary closures have battered sales. That's why L Brands, its parent company, announced on Feb. 24 that they plan to close up to 50 stores before the end of the year, USA Today reports.

While leadership originally had plans to sell Victoria's Secret off from their portfolio to New York City-based private equity firm Sycamore Partners, the deal dissolved when the pandemic hit. And for another major retailer that recently folded, This Popular Accessories Chain Just Filed for Bankruptcy.

3
Fry's Electronics

The entrance of a Fry's Electronics store with green awnings and red lettering
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Surviving over three decades in business, Fry's Electronics was one of the last big box electronics stores in the game—until recently. Now, the popular chain will close all 31 of its stores across nine states amid pandemic losses.

The company announced its plans in a Feb. 24 statement on its website: "Fry's Electronics, Inc. has made the difficult decision to shut down its operations and close its business permanently as a result of changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic," leadership announced. "It is hoped that undertaking the wind-down through this orderly process will reduce costs, avoid additional liabilities, minimize the impact on our customers, vendors, landlords and associates, and maximize the value of the Company's assets for its creditors and other stakeholders."

4
Sears and Kmart

the entrance of and a parking lot in front of a Kmart in Mountville, Pennsylvania
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Even Sears and Kmart, two of the biggest names in American retail, were no match for the economic toll of the pandemic. Both stores, owned by the parent company Transformco, will undergo another round of closures over the coming months resulting in the demise of at least 13 branches by mid-April.

"We were gearing up to bring you another season of Kmart fun, but unfortunately that was not in the cards for us this go around," one Kmart in Silver Springs, Maryland wrote on its Facebook page. And for more iconic store closures, This Popular Clothing Store Is Closing at Least 200 Locations.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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