WESTFIELD, NJ — Despite hundreds of the retailers’ stores being slated to close nationwide as Gap Inc. splits into two companies, the brand’s stores in this town are not set to sunset anytime soon, a company spokeswoman said.
The retailer had told investors earlier this year that it would be closing 230 of its stores nationwide, the Associated Press and other news outlets reported. That news prompted concerns over the impact such closures could have in Westfield, where Gap Inc. operates three of its brands: Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta.
“Any downtown store closing has an impact certainly on the neighboring downtown stores, restaurants and other businesses,” said Sherry Cronin, executive director of Downtown Westfield Corporation, the government entity managing the town’s business improvement district.
Cronin was pleased to hear that Gap Inc. has no immediate plans to close its locations in Westfield.
“Those stores will remain open,” said Trina Somera, a spokeswoman for Gap Inc., in an email to TAPinto Westfield on Friday.
Gap’s history in Westfield dates back to the 1990s, records from the Downtown Westfield Corporation show.
Cronin provided the following account of Gap Inc.’s time in town:
- In 1991, Gap arrived at 234 E. Broad Street (corner of Central & E. Broad)
- In 1994, Gap expanded to 207 E. Broad Street. The 234 E. Broad St. location became Gap Kids
- In 2001, Banana Republic opened at 137 Central Avenue
- In November 2013, Gap expanded again at 207 E. Broad Street, renovated the entire store including the second floor and consolidated the brands Gap, Gap Kids, Baby Gap at that location
- In August 2014, Athleta opened at the 234 E. Broad Street location (corner of Central & E. Broad)
“There has been a long and rich history of the Gap related brands in Downtown Westfield,” Cronin said. “We are very fortunate to have them.”
Andrew Calcagno, who owns the East Broad Street location, was pleased to hear confirmation that his tenant will be staying: “Great news for the Town of Westfield and great news for us,” he said.
With more retailers moving sales online, Westfield’s downtown has not been immune from the change buffeting the industry nationwide.
Lord & Taylor’s 2018 announcement that it would close 10 of its stores had sparked concern that Westfield’s North Avenue location would not make the cut. The retailer, however, has decided to stay in Westfield, the public learned in October.
Victoria’s Secret East Broad Street location had no such luck. The store closed its doors in January, one among 20 stores nationwide, which the retailer’s parent company, L Brands is shutting nationwide.