Gap to split, with Old Navy getting independence

Retailer to also close 230 Gap brand stores over the next two years

Gap Inc. is splitting into two.

The retailer said Thursday it’s creating two independent publicly traded companies — low-priced juggernaut Old Navy and a yet-to-be named company, which will consist of the iconic Gap brand, Banana Republic as well as the lesser known names Athleta, Intermix and Hill City.

The San Francisco-based company said the spin-off will enable each company to focus on flexibility and pare down costs.

The company also said it will be shuttering 230 Gap brand stores over the next two years. A year ago, the Gap brand had 725 stores worldwide. After the closures, which also include the 68 stores it shuttered this year, the chain will be down to roughly 427 stores. It expects to have more than 40 per cent of Gap’s business coming from online after the restructuring.

Gap’s stock surged 25 per cent in after-market trading.

The split up, which followed a comprehensive board review, comes as Old Navy has been thriving, while Gap still hasn’t been able to regain its footing despite numerous attempts to fix the business. Once the go-to place for casual clothing, Gap has been mired in a sales funk for years, hurt by increasing competition from the likes of Target and Amazon.

READ MORE: HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

Analysts applauded the move.

“This is great news for Old Navy, no longer having its success consistently outweighed by sluggish performance by Gap,” said Tiffany Hogan, senior analyst at Kantar Consulting. “But for the Gap, this seems like potentially a last significant effort to help the brand find its place in a market where it has lost relevance.”

She noted that in order for Gap to succeed, it needs to find the right mix of style and basics for its stores, while getting a better grasp of who its customer is.

Separately, Gap Inc. reported that Gap’s overall sales at stores opened at least year were down 1 per cent during the fiscal fourth quarter. By division, the Gap brand posted a 5 per cent drop, while that figure at Banana Republic was down 1 per cent. Old Navy posted sales that were unchanged from a year ago. But that was on top of a 9 per cent gain in the year-ago period.

Anne D’Innocenzio, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Partnership between local agencies connects with lakecity youth through hockey

A partnership between four lakecity organizations is working to bring youth together through sport.

First-ever Tsilhqot’in master chef challenge sizzles

Teams of grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren cooked on an open fire

Two new coffee shop openings add to lakecity business upswing

City issues record number of business licences

Dust advisory issued for Williams Lake area

It is anticipated high concentrations of dust will persist for another 24 hours

POLICE: ‘Don’t leave children unattended in vehicles’

Williams Lake RCMP issue warning after attending complaint at Walmart Wednesday

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

Permit rejected to bring two cheetahs to B.C.

Earl Pfeifer owns two cheetahs, one of which escaped in December 2015

Real-life tsunami threat in Port Alberni prompts evacuation updates

UBC study says some people didn’t recognize the emergency signal

Care providers call for B.C. seniors’ watchdog to step down

The association also asks the province to conduct an audit and review of the mandate of her office

Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from B.C. roaster recalled due to botulism scare

“If you purchased N7 Nitro Cold Brew Coffee from Cherry Hill … do not drink it.”

B.C. man gets award for thwarting theft, sexual assault – all in 10 minutes

Karl Dey helped the VPD take down a violent sex offender

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

B.C. public insurance includes funding enforcement, driver licensing

Most Read