The Old Navy flagship store on Market Street at Fourth, which has been in that location since the 1990s, will close on July 1, adding to the deepening retail exodus crisis on mid-Market and in Union Square.

While Old Navy is one of the better performing brands in the Gap Inc universe, the company says that it will abandon this 72,369-square-foot location when its current lease is up a month from now. 

A spokesperson tells KRON4 today, "We are already working to identify new locations in downtown San Francisco that will better serve the needs of the business and our customers."

That statement perhaps implies that Gap is recognizing the ongoing troubles facing retailers on a strip of Market Street that many complain is more chaotic and crime-ridden than it's been in years — though much of the noted open-air drug activity is concentrated a couple of blocks up, closer to Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth streets.

Gap Inc. closed its flagship store in the early pandemic, in August 2020, and that move came after years in which the retailer had been shuttering stores and laying off workers nationwide.

The company is also closing its Banana Republic (BR) store in the Westfield mall, as the Chronicle reported two days ago, and the BR flagship store at 256 Grant Avenue is set to close this year as the company plans to rebrand and reconfigure all of its BR stores on a smaller scale. A new BR store is expected to open at 152 Geary Street, as the Business Times reported

As the spokesperson tells the SF Business Times, "Since our Market Street [Old Navy] store opened in the 1990s, the way we leverage flagship locations has changed."

The Old Navy closure announcement comes after a month in which we learned Nordstrom would be abandoning its Westfield location this summer, as well as its Nordstrom Rack store on Market. And in early April we learned that the one-year-old Whole Foods at Eighth and Market was also abruptly closing.

Around Union Square, around a dozen other stores have closed or are set to close, including the seven-month-old Coco Republic store that took over the abandoned Crate & Barrel at Stockton and O'Farrell. 

Economists have pointed to the fact that multiple cities are seeing similar spates of big-box retail closures, which have been driven by larger economic forces including consumers' increased online-shopping habits. 

Gap's spokesperson tells ABC 7 that customers can still shop at their four new "laboratory" stores at Gap headquarters by the Embarcadero, Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta, which are at 2 Folsom Street.

Previously: Lots of Big Retail Stores Are Closing In Big Cities, and It Has Everything to Do With Economics

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