Gap Drops As CEO Of Namesake Brand Leaves Company

Shares of Gap (GPS) dropped in morning trading after the retailer said the president and chief executive officer of its namesake brand will leave the company. The departure comes amid Gap's turnaround plan, which includes plans to close about 200 underperforming Gap and Banana Republic stores.

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GAP BRAND CEO DEPARTURE: Gap this morning said that Gap brand President and CEO Jeff Kirwan will leave the company. A search for a replacement is under way, the company said. In the meantime, Brent Hyder, the current executive vice president, global talent and sustainability, will act as interim brand head. Hyder served as chief operating officer at Gap brand prior to taking on his current role. In a statement, Gap CEO Art Peck said that "While I am pleased with our progress in brand health and product quality, we have not achieved the operational excellence and accelerated profit growth that we know is possible at Gap brand." He added, "As we move into the brand's next phase of development, Jeff and I agreed it was an appropriate time for a change in leadership."

WHAT'S NOTABLE: On September 6, Gap said that over the next three years, it expects to close about 200 underperforming Gap and Banana Republic locations and add about 270 Old Navy and Athleta locations. The company expects about $500M in savings over the next three years by better leveraging its scale. Gap's focus on growth comes amid a slowdown of mall traffic that has hurt many mall-based retailers reflecting a shift to fast-fashion retailers like Zara, Forever 21 and H&M as well as an increase in online shopping on sites such as Amazon (AMZN). Though Gap Global's same-store sales rose 1% in the third quarter, comp sales for the brand were down 1% in the second quarter and down 4% in the first quarter. Gap is expected to report Q4 earnings on after the market close on March 1.

PRICE ACTION: Gap shares are down about 4% in morning trading to $31.95.


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