Old Navy continues to buck retail’s doom-and-gloom trend.
During an investor conference on Thursday, CEO Sonia Syngal revealed plans to open 800 new stores, mostly in its underserved markets — nearly doubling its fleet to 2,000 locations in the United States.
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It marks Old Navy’s first big announcement since parent company Gap Inc. said in February that it would split into two publicly traded companies. As Syngal runs Old Navy, Gap CEO Art Peck stays on as head of the parent company, which will include the flagship Gap brand as well as Banana Republic, Athleta, Intermix and Hill City.
“We’re an $8 billion start-up,” Syngal said. “The sky’s the limit.”
Old Navy has long been the crown jewel in Gap’s financial portfolio, making up almost half of the retail group’s $16.6 billion in sales last year and luring budget-focused consumers away from competitors such as JCPenney and T.J. Maxx.
The brand has also managed to overcome the hurdles that have plagued the industry, outlining plans to debut roughly 75 stores a year. According to analytics firm Coresight Research, there have been more than 8,558 store closures in the retail sector so far this year, already exceeding the 5,844 closures for all of 2018.
It’s not the first time Old Navy has attempted an expansion in the midst of a brick-and-mortar downturn. Last April’s announcement to expand with more than 60 new outposts brought its total store count to upwards of 1,000. Many existing locations are also undergoing omnichannel upgrades, which include adding the in-store option of buying online, picking up in the store.
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