Gap to close 200 stores, open others

HARLINGEN — Closing the Gap took on new meaning yesterday.

The popular youth apparel retailer announced it would close 200 underperforming Gap and Banana Republic stores, but open 270 new stores under its Old Navy brand and its athletic apparel brand, Athleta.

No store closing list was revealed, but Gap has locations at Sunrise Mall in Brownsville and La Plaza Mall in McAllen, and Banana Republic has stores at La Plaza Mall and the Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets in Mercedes.

Athleta has no presence in South Texas.

San Francisco-based Gap Inc. owns several brands targeting primarily youth fashion.

Those include the namesake Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, Intermix and bridal party fashion retailer Weddington Way.

The Gap closings come as no surprise, seeing as how the struggling retailer said last year it would close 175 stores this year after nearly two years with dormant sales growth.

The prior year, Gap closed more than 100 stores.

Instead, management is placing its hopes in Old Navy and Athleta.

Company executives told investors yesterday they expect Old Navy to exceed $10 billion and Athleta to exceed $1 billion in net sales in the next few years, driven by online sales growth and mobile channels and U.S. store expansion.

Old Navy sales were about $6 billion in fiscal year 2016.

Gap Inc.’s net sales in fiscal year 2016 totaled $15.5 billion.

It operates 3,650 stores or e-commerce sites in 90 countries.