GATEWAY TO SHUT UP TO 88 UNITS

ST. LOUIS--Gateway Apparel will close as many as 88 of its 200 off-price women's stores, primarily due to weak sales, the company said. Most of the units to be closed are in Midwestern and Southwestern strip shopping centers and were described by Ray Plass, Gateway's president and chief executive officer, as "poor performers."
Plass said women's apparel sales have been flat, especially in bottoms. Jeans and back-to-school sales have not been living up to expectations, he added.
Plass became president and ceo last week, succeeding the firm's founder, Carl Simons, who will remain as chairman.
Gateway sells name-brand clothing at discount prices in stores with names such as The Right Price, Fashion Gal and Warehouse of Fashion.
Expected to be shut in the next two months are units in Phoenix and Tucson; St. Louis; Detroit; Denver; Atlanta; Cleveland; Cincinnati, and smaller metropolitan areas of Iowa, Indiana and Oklahoma.

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