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Gap Inc.’s troubles widen with Union Square Athleta to close and Banana Republic relocating

Gap store | Samantha Laurey for The Standard

Gap Inc. plans to move its flagship Banana Republic store from Union Square to a smaller space at 152 Geary St., the San Francisco Business Times reported Monday

It’s a serious downgrade—the store will go from the 30,000-square-foot space it currently occupies at 256 Grant Ave. to a 9,250-square-foot one—with the move expected to come later this year. 

In more bad news for the iconic San Francisco-born retailer, the company also plans to close the Union Square Athleta store at 255 Sutter St. once its lease is up this spring. 

Parent company Gap Inc.—which owns Banana Republic, Athleta, Gap and Old Navy brands—has an expansive real estate portfolio, and one approach for righting its financial woes has been to readjust its bloated brick-and-mortar presence. 

The news comes just weeks after the decision to shrink the Athleta headquarters by putting up for sale or lease the building it owns at 1 Harrison St., which is a block away from the company’s central headquarters at 2 Folsom St. 

The previous year was not much better for the company, with the departure of CEO Sonia Syngal, the termination of its working partnership with Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) and the layoff of 500 corporate employees. 

The company, which became a ubiquitous household name and shopping mall stalwart, has deep San Francisco roots. The very first Gap opened in Ingleside in 1969 and its headquarters continue to operate in the city at 2 Folsom St., with descendants of founders Don and Doris Fisher still serving on the board of directors

Correction: Although many Banana Republic stores now feature signage reading "BR," the clothing brand has not changed its name and is still officially called "Banana Republic."

Julie Zigoris can be reached at