Starting in Texas this coming weekend, The Gap, Inc. (NYSE:GPS) intends to successively reopen a total of approximately 800 retail stores throughout May. The clothing retailer says that many of its major brands will see at least some of their outlets reopened, including Janie and Jack, Intermix, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Gap, and Athleta.
The Gap says the reopening strategy is being carried out carefully, in consultation with the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA). The RILA, working with another organization, has published a Blueprint for Shopping Safe. The Blueprint's "Phase 2," which involves reopening stores, but enforcing social distancing and limiting numbers inside locations at any one time, appears to be what The Gap is now launching.
The company also says it's heeding the advice of local health officials and following whatever guidelines they have established. Some of the universal precautions the retailer intends to use include supplying employees with reusable face masks and asking customers to wear such masks, too, increasing worker hand-washing frequency, making hand sanitizer stations available at entrances, and thoroughly cleaning the stores often.
The retail locations will also keep their restrooms and fitting rooms closed even after the store is reopened. Employees will place returned items in a "quarantine" area for 24 hours before putting them back on the shelf.
The Gap has attempted to keep generating revenue during the coronavirus shutdown by using around 1,000 of its outlets as "Ship from Store" hubs and offering curbside pickup at 75 stores. It also recently inked a licensing deal to use its branding on furniture, baby products, and other items.