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

55+ Social for Ridge Meadows seniors who want to get out

Ridge Meadows 55+ Social is a Facegoup through which activities are coordinated for active seniors

On Cooking: You should cook topless

‘Water is a colourless and flavourless liquid.’

Being Young: Concussions, not my idea of a good time

I had to get doctor’s notes excusing me from classes and from both of my jobs.

Maple Ridge’s indoor pool redo in final months

Structural work done, with target opening to be late summer

Police investigating body found in Maple Ridge park

Discovered early Friday near highway

Maple Ridge magnetic hill defies the law of Newton

It is a stretch of road where cars roll uphill instead of down

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

B.C. VIEWS: The hijacking of our education system gathers speed

Children taught to strike and shout fringe far-left demands

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

VIDEO: Vancouver fall to Seattle in Game 2 of the playoffs

Thunderbirds topple the Giants 4-1 in Langley, evening the Western Conference series one game each

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Most Read