Old Navy is closing shop in downtown SF after decades

The clothing giant, which has cut costs with layoffs and numerous store closures for its Old Navy, Banana Republic, Athleta and namesake brands, said its store at 801 Market St. will close on July 1.

The store opened in 1999. Gap said its lease is expiring and it is “already working to find new locations in downtown San Francisco that will better serve the needs of the company and our customers.”

“Old Navy is always evaluating its real estate portfolio to ensure a healthy retail fleet that can provide our customers with the best possible experience,” the company said. “Gap Inc. has deep roots in San Francisco and is committed to the city.”

A block away, a Banana Republic in Westfield Mall closed in April, and a flagship Banana Republic is moving to a smaller space in Union Square. Another three Gap stores and an Athleta store have closed in San Francisco during the pandemic.

Gap has seen faltering sales, down 6% in its most recent fiscal year compared to the prior year. Executives cited supply chain disruptions for high inventories in the second half of the year, particularly at Old Navy, leading to worsening profit margins as more promotions were issued to boost sales. Customer demand has also weakened during a period of high inflation.

Downtown San Francisco has fallen victim to reduced foot traffic due to remote work and reduced tourism during the pandemic, along with safety concerns and customers switching to online shopping.

The stretch of Market Street near Union Square has been hit hard by store closures: Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack are exciting, along with Saks Off Fifth. A Walgreens next to Old Navy was the site of a fatal shooting, and relatives of the victim, Banko Brown, sued the company and his security company.

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