Gap to shutter its Fifth Avenue store in a few weeks

By RetailFOXBusiness

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2019 may not be Gap’s year.

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A company spokesperson for the clothing brand confirmed to FOX Business that it plans to close its iconic Fifth Avenue location in New York City a few weeks into the new year.

“The Gap store on 680 5th Avenue in New York will be closing on January 20,” the spokesperson said on Wednesday.

The news follows a previous report in November that Gap Inc. – the owner of top household clothing brands including Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta – plans to close hundreds of its namesake stores “with urgency.”

During a call with investors in late November, Gap Inc. CEO Art Peck said sales at Gap stores have fallen 7 percent over the last 12 months, while other brands like Old Navy and Banana Republic have seen a boost, forcing the company to “address” the issue.

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"There are hundreds of other stores that likely don't fit our vision for the future of Gap brand specialty store, whether in terms of profitability, customer experience, traffic trends,” Peck said during the call, adding that the company is looking to make decisions about shutting down these locations “with urgency,” including closing some of Gap’s “amazing flagships.”

“I plan to exit those that do not fit the future vision quickly. I'm going to move thoughtfully but aggressively,” he noted, adding at the same time, he knows that stores are an important part of the customer's journey.

While a formal decision has not been made of what locations will close, except for the Fifth Ave store, Peck did reveal the company plans to give more insight next year.

Bob Phibbs, CEO of New York-based consultancy firm the Retail Doctor, said the news doesn't look good for the iconic clothing brand's overall future.

“With such heavy foot traffic in New York City, if Gap was going to make it anywhere, they should have been able to make it here. Now, Gap is cutting off limbs in hopes of survival," Phibbs told FOX Business.

"The reality is that the retailer simply can’t keep running 40 percent off sales and expect to be a national brand that people go out of their way for," he added, citing its biggest problem is that Gap simply doesn’t know its customers anymore.

"Without that understanding of its shoppers, the brand can’t expect to be around for much longer.”

But while Gap, joins a long-list of other iconic retailers such as Lord & Taylor, Ralph Lauren and FAO Schwarz, who have also said their goodbyes to the iconic New York City strip, other big retailers like Nike and discount store Five Below are moving in.