Gap shares up 11% on plans to close shops, focus on e-commerce and off-mall retail

A Gap retailer in New York, August 2, 2020.

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Gap Inc. shares rose as a lot as 11% after the retailer revealed plans Thursday to shrink its retailer footprint by about 350 shops and swap to a enterprise mannequin that is pushed by e-commerce and off-mall areas.

The attire retailer, made up of chains Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta, shared the technique at an investor convention. It mentioned it expects to close roughly 30% of Gap and Banana Republic shops in North America by the top of fiscal 2023. By that point, it mentioned, it plans to usher in about 80% of income from e-commerce and off-mall areas.

It mentioned about 75% of its North American closures shall be accomplished by the top of fiscal yr 2021.

The firm is re-evaluating its European enterprise and might close shops there.

These adjustments will assist Gap Inc. to return to “profitable growth” subsequent yr, the corporate mentioned.

Gap has struggled together with different shopping center staples through the coronavirus pandemic. It has pivoted to new methods to drive gross sales, together with making face masks and turning some shops into on-line success facilities. Its face masks, which it sells individually and in bulk, introduced in $130 million in gross sales final quarter.

Online gross sales and its activewear model, Athleta, have been brilliant spots for the corporate through the pandemic. Its on-line gross sales grew by 95% and it gained 3.5 million new clients within the second quarter ended Aug. 1. Athleta was the one model inside Gap to report an total enhance in gross sales.

It additionally introduced a deal in June with Kanye West to develop an unique style line for its namesake retailer, a transfer that despatched shares hovering.

As the retailer seems to rebound and keep related through the international well being disaster, Gap executives mentioned Thursday that they’re making tweaks to its manufacturers. Banana Republic, identified for promoting work put on like clothes and fits, could have a distinct assortment that is centered on activewear, sleepwear and knits — with plans to return to its typical attire when extra individuals return to the workplace.

Athleta and Old Navy are two banners the corporate mentioned are on observe for quick and vital development. Athleta CEO Mary Beth Laughton mentioned the worth of the model might double to $2 billion by 2023. Old Navy, at the moment an $eight billion model, might grow to be a $10 billion one by that very same yr, the corporate mentioned.

Its namesake model, Gap, has been one of many mum or dad firm’s weak spots. In three years, the corporate leaders mentioned about 80% of its shops shall be outdoors of malls.

Gap shares hit a 52-week excessive in buying and selling Thursday of $20.83. The inventory has gained 9% for the reason that begin of the yr, and has a market worth of $7.7 billion.

—CNBC’s Amanda Lasky contributed to this report.

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