550 jobs could go
Gap will axe its Forth & Towne fascia, just 18 months after it launched.

The retailer said that while initial performance of the chain had been encouraging, future investments would be better focussed on turning around its core Gap and Old Navy chains.

The 19 Forth & Towne stores in 10 US markets will shut by the end of June. The cost of closing the chain is expected to be in the region of US$40 million (£20.4 million), which will be absorbed over the first and second quarters of the 2007 financial year.

Gap chairman and interim president and chief executive Bob Fisher said: 'Forth & Towne was a great test of a promising concept and an illustration of the innovative risks you need to take in our business. We made the tough decision to close the brand and focus our efforts on stabilising the existing businesses.'

The closure of Forth & Towne will hit about 550 employees. Gap said it was considering ways to redeploy the employees to positions at its Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic brands, where feasible.