Earns Gap

Gap is moving away from the nation's malls.

The retailer, which was for decades a fixture at shopping malls around the country, said that it will be closing 220 stores — or one-third of its store base — by early 2024. 

Gap, Foot Locker, J.C. Penney and Victoria’s Secret, all staples of American malls, have announced plans to close hundreds of stores.

A Penney's spokeswoman said none of its south Louisiana stores will close. Gap, Victoria's Secrets and Foot Locker provided no lists of their planned closures. However, Jake Wilson, manager of the Mall of Louisiana, said he hadn’t heard of any plans to close the Baton Rouge Victoria’s Secret. 

Gap said it will close 230 stores over the next two years. A year ago, the Gap brand had 725 stores worldwide. After the closures, which also include the 68 stores it shuttered this year, the chain will be down to roughly 427 locations. The casual retailer has six locations in south Louisiana: a children’s and an adult store at Lakeside Shopping Center in Metairie, Collection @ Riverwalk in New Orleans, Towne Center at Cedar Lodge in Baton Rouge, Tanger Outlet in Gonzales and Premier Centre in Mandeville. 

Gap Inc. also announced it is splitting into two: creating two independent publicly traded companies — low-priced juggernaut Old Navy and a yet-to-be named company, which will consist of the iconic Gap brand, Athleta, Banana Republic as well as the lesser known names Athleta, Intermix and Hill City. The split up, which followed a comprehensive board review, comes as Old Navy has been thriving, while Gap still hasn't been able to regain its footing despite numerous attempts to fix the business. Once the go-to place for casual clothing, Gap has been mired in a sales funk for years, hurt by increasing competition from the likes of Target and Amazon.

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Foot Locker said it will close 165 stores this year, after closing 110 locations in 2018 and 147 in 2017. The shoe retailer has New Orleans stores on Canal Street in the Central Business District, Gentilly Shopping Center and Carrollton Plaza, two Baton Rouge stores in the Mall of Louisiana and Hammond Aire Plaza and locations in Lakeside Shopping Center in Metairie, Oakwood Shopping Center in Gretna, Hammond Square Mall in Hammond, Southland Mall in Houma, Kenner Plaza Shopping Center in Kenner, Acadiana Mall in Lafayette and Northshore Square Mall in Slidell.

J.C. Penney said Thursday it would shut down 18 department stores, including three that were announced last month. It will also close nine home and furniture stores. The company has eight area locations: at the Mall of Louisiana, Lakeside Shopping Center, Oakwood Shopping Center, Hammond Square Mall, Southland Mall, Acadiana Mall, Stirling Lafayette in Lafayette and River Chase in Covington. 

Victoria’s Secret announced plans to close 53 locations in North America over the upcoming year. The women’s apparel company has stores at the Mall of Louisiana, Lakeside Shopping Center, Oakwood Center, Acadiana Mall, The Esplanade in Kenner, Premier Center in Mandeville and Fremaux Town Center in Slidell. Victoria’s Secret said they would not release a list of stores targeted for closure.

Department stores and retailers are trying are trying to compete in an era when Americans are buying more online, or turning to discounters for clothing.

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.