Gap Plans to Juggle Store Count

During its fourth quarter earnings call, Gap Inc. announced plans to shut 200 locations--mostly Gap stores--while opening 230 new locations--mostly as Old Navy stores.

That's on top of its plans to shut its 18-unit Forth & Towne chain.

The decision to bolster Old Navy while pulling back on the Gap is interesting, especially since same-store sales at the Old Navy brand were worse than either Gap or Banana Republic last year.

Same-store sales for the Gap division dropped by 8 percent in the fourth quarter compared with a 7 percent decline last year. For Old Navy, same-store sales fell by 9 percent compared with a 6 percent decline a year ago. The company's third brand, Banana Republic, grew by 3 percent in same-store sales compared with a 5 percent decline a year ago.

All told, Gap's net number of stores will remain relatively stable, keeping the 2007 on track for a low number of store closings by retailers.

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