Gap Closing 175 Stores, Laying Off 250 Corporate Employees

Gap is in the process of closing 175 stores nationwide in an effort to remake its image. In addition to the store closures, Gap will also be laying off 250 employees at its corporate headquarters in San Francisco, California.

According to the CNNMoney, this move will not affect any of the company’s 300 outlet stores, nor will it have an impact on any of the other stores the company owns. This includes Banana Republic, Old Navy, Intermix, and Athletica.

Struggling sales are the reason behind Gap closing a huge amount of its stores. Its sales were down 10 percent in the first quarter, and the company also saw a loss of 2 percent of its online sales compared to a year ago. Art Peck, who took over as Gap’s CEO earlier this year, said he has plans to put most of the focus on updating the retail chain’s website, in hopes that it will increase sales.

“Customers are rapidly changing how they shop today, and these moves will help get Gap back to where we know it deserves to be in the eyes of consumers.”

This news comes nearly four years after the Inquisitr reported that Gap would be closing almost 200 of its stores. At the time, the retail chain had 889 operating stores and planned to reduce that number to 700 by 2013.

Gap Clothing Image The interior of a Gap store in San Francisco, California. [Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]With this latest closure news, there will be 500 Gap stores across North America. According to the Wall Street Journal, 140 of the 175 stores scheduled for closing will shutter by “early 2016” with the rest closing shortly after that. Peck told the Wall Street Journal that the stores that will remain open are among the chain’s most successful.

“Many of these stores are in centers we’ve been in for a long time.”

While Gap may be closing 175 of its stores, Peck did mention that there could be a possibility of more opening in the future. As of right now, though, that’s not what the retail chain is focusing on.

“I feel very confident that this is the right number of stores as we look at the business today.”

While Gap may be trying make itself more appealing to consumers with a new business model, there could be more to why the company has been struggling in recent years. As Forbes contributor Paula Rosenblum puts it, Gap may need to rediscover its “brand identity” in order to succeed.

“Closing more stores may indeed help, but the company sorely needs to find its voice again. Product freshness is the first step on that path.”

Do you think Gap can bounce back?

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]