‘We’ll almost double our fleet:’ Old Navy CEO announces plans for 800 new stores

Old Navy (Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO — Old Navy officials outlined plans Thursday, Sept. 12 to open 800 new stores — the first major announcement since the Gap, Old Navy’s parent company, announced a spin off of the lower-priced brand.

“We’ll almost double our fleet to 2,000 stores in North America, predominantly in under-served small markets,” Sonia Syngal, CEO of Old Navy, said at an investor conference.

There were 1,140 Old Navy stores at the end of the fiscal year in February. Company leaders said the plan was to open up around 75 stores a year, focusing away from struggling malls.

Gap officials said in February they planned to spin off Old Navy into a public company in 2020. The Gap will hold onto the flagship brand and Banana Republic, as well as Athleta and Hill City.

The split was designed to allow Old Navy to expand on its own. The company, which has grown to $8 billion in sales, aims to hit $10 billion, Syngal said Thursday.

Old Navy, born in 1994, reached $1 billion in annual sales in the first four years by hawking trendy, low-priced clothes. The brand has thrived in recent years. Sales at stores open at least a year grew 3% in 2018.

“We’re an $8 billion start-up,” Syngal said. “The sky’s the limit.”

Hundreds of Old Navy stores will open at a moment when most of the industry is doing the opposite.

Retailers in the United States announced more than 8,200 store closings in 2019, already exceeding the 2018 total of 5,589, according to Coresight Research.

Payless, which sells shoes, and children’s clothing store Gymboree both filed for bankruptcy, closing nearly 3,000 stores combined.

Further store closures were expected to pile up and could reach 12,000 by the end of 2019, Coresight predicted.

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