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Gap Joins Retailers' Fight Against Coronavirus, Shuts Stores

Zacks Equity Research

Similar to many other apparel retailers, The Gap, Inc. GPS announced temporary store closure plans amid the growing spread of COVID-19. The company said that it will temporarily shut down all Old Navy, Banana Republic, Gap, Athleta, Janie and Jack, and Intermix stores in North America. Management stated that these stores will remain shut for two weeks, starting today.

Management will continue to make payments alongside offering benefits to workers employed for the abovementioned period. Certainly, Gap is taking all possible measures to contain the coronavirus spread. Prior to this, the company had announced a reduction in store operating hours across the United States and Canada for a temporary period, from Mar 16.

However, considering the rising spread of the pandemic, Gap also joined other retailers in closing stores. Markedly, Abercrombie & Fitch ANF, Ralph Lauren RL, Columbia Sportswear and American Eagle Outfitters AEO are a few companies who have also announced temporary store closures recently due to the deadly virus spread.

The coronavirus, which originated in China, has spread enormously to the extent that cases and deaths outside the nation have exceeded the number in China, per a World Health Organization (WHO) report. Sadly, the global pandemic has infected more than 190,000 people worldwide and the death toll has crossed 7,000. While the deadly virus has jeopardized the global economy, the retail sector (in particular) remains under pressure due to supply-chain bottlenecks, reduced traffic, an increasing number of store closures and limited hours of working.

Coming back to Gap, the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company recently reported fourth-quarter fiscal 2019 results, along with which it provided a cautious view for fiscal 2020, given the outbreak of coronavirus. During the quarter, both top and bottom lines beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate. While sales improved on a year-over-year basis, earnings declined. Results continued to reflect the impact of soft consolidated comparable sales (comps) for the Gap brand, while Old Navy and Banana Republic brands remained flat.

We note that shares of the company have plunged 55.1% in the past three months compared with the industry’s decline of 40.2%.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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The Gap, Inc. (GPS) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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Abercrombie & Fitch Company (ANF) : Free Stock Analysis Report
American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (AEO) : Free Stock Analysis Report
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