Both stores will each occupy about 31,000 square feet inside the Bow Tie Building on 44th Street between Broadway and Seventh Avenue. Gap and Old Navy will have their own entrances.
“The iconic Bow Tie Building in Times Square has been home to both multiple major retailers as well as a variety of entertainment venues since its opening in 1936,” said Ben Moss, partner of Bow Tie Partners.
“Both sides are making very large investments,” Moss told WWD, referring to his firm and Gap Inc.
The building currently houses the Toys ‘R’ Us flagship, which did not renew its lease.Moss said the lease will expire in the first quarter of next year and that he is in discussions with a few other prospective retailers for other space that is available in the building.
The Moss family also founded, owns and operates the 115-year-old Bow Tie Cinemas, the oldest motion picture exhibition company in the U.S.
Gap’s Times Square moves represents a much-needed lift for Gap Inc., which has long been struggling to revive its Gap and Banana Republic brands. However, the Old Navy division continues to be on a roll, enjoying mass consumer acceptance.
Gap brand operates a store on the corner of Sixth Avenue and 42nd Street. Asked if that store would continue to operate or shut down, a Gap spokesman replied: “We’re constantly reevaluating our real estate portfolio to ensure we have the right stores in the right places to best serve our customers.”
Gap brand announced earlier this month that 175 stores in North America over the next few years will close, including 140 this year, representing almost 25 percent of the fleet. The store reductions will bring the Gap fleet down to about 800 stores, including 500 Gap specialty locations and 300 Gap outlets. At the end of the fourth quarter there were 977 units in North America.
Gap brand comparable-store sales were down 5 percent last year worldwide, while the Old Navy division comped up 5 percent and Banana Republic was flat.
Gap Inc., under the leadership of chief executive officer Art Peck has rapidly formed new design and executive teams at Gap and Banana Republic, and nurturing greater collaboration within and between brands. The company is also putting a stronger focus on the 25- to 35-year-old female customer at Gap brand, and at Banana Republic, reducing promotions and prioritizing tailored clothing, sweaters, pants and outerwear. Peck recently said that delivering “better and more consistent product” has been the company’s Achilles’ heel.