By DIEGO JESUS BARTESAGHI MENA
The Gap store on Valley Road will close its doors on April 23, the company has announced.
The corporate office has said it’s shifting focus to its growing online sales. The Valley Road store, which has long been a staple in Upper Montclair, is among the 220 the chain announced last year it would close by 2024. In all, they account for one-third of Gap’s stores. As a result, 80% of remaining Gap stores will be at off-mall locations. The company also planned to close 130 Banana Republic stores in that time.
The company said in a recent press release it saw a 49% increase in online sales in the fourth quarter of 2020, and total net sales were down 5% due to store closures and COVID impacts.
“We faced one of the most difficult years in our company’s history and, throughout, our teams showed resilience and determination as we navigated unprecedented disruption in our industry to set a course for long-term growth,” Sonia Syngal, chief executive officer, said in the release.
The report also indicated the closure of a net of 228 Gap and Banana Republic stores globally, ahead of an initial 225 target for that time.
Representatives of the township’s business associations recently told Montclair Local they’ve seen high turnover — but not necessarily less business activity during the pandemic.
Montclair Center BID Executive Director Jason Gleason said last month his organization, which encompasses hundreds of businesses downtown, ended 2020 with one more member business than it had when the coronavirus pandemic first hit New Jersey, in March of that year.
Paul Giordano, president of Uptown Montclair, a volunteer-run organization funded by businesses across Upper Montclair, saw a similar pattern.
“Each business has been affected differently, and we have been trying to help them navigate resources such as aid and grant requests,” Giordano said at the time. “We saw a couple of businesses close down, but new businesses open as well. Every exiting business had another one open.”