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Gap closing Boulevard Mall store

Gap is closing a quarter of its North American stores, and its Boulevard Mall location is one of them.

The McKinley Mall will also lose its Gap Kids location.

The Boulevard store is one of that mall’s longest-tenured tenants, having opened in 1976. It is expected to close by the end of the month.

“We look at this as an opportunity to fill with another quality tenant,” said Betsey Bonvissuto, the mall’s marketing manager. “Needless to say, we are very disappointed they have chosen to close.”

The McKinley Mall will retain its Gap store but Gap Kids, which has a separate storefront, will close by the end of the month. The mall is in talks with a replacement tenant and is close to signing a deal, mall management said.

Gap stores at Walden Galleria and Eastern Hills Mall will remain open, as will its outlet store at the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls.

In a major restructuring, Gap is closing 175 of its 675 stores throughout North America over the next couple of years. Most of them are located in the United States. In addition to its 500 North American stores, Gap will retain 300 outlet stores, which are not affected.

“We feel confident that we’re going to be positioned to restore the brand and get it back on track as quickly as possible,” Art Peck, who took over as Gap’s chief executive in February, said in an interview with the New York Times. “We never want to close stores, but we felt this was the right decision.”

The decision comes as part of the company’s larger strategy to turn around a once popular brand that has lost its luster.

After dominating khaki and denim culture through the 1990s, Gap has stumbled in recent years, hurt by management blunders, a revolving door of executives and, by its own executives’ admission, uninspiring fashion.

As with many midrange apparel retailers, both Gap and its sister brand, Banana Republic, have lost core shoppers, who were lured away by cheap chic styles offered by the likes of H&M.

“There’s really no fashion direction,” said Jessica Bornn, a senior analyst at Merchant Forecast, which provides retail and consumer research for institutional investors. “Right now, they’re a ship without a captain.”

The closures will cut costs in the face of declining sales. Gap’s first-quarter sales were down 10 percent compared to last year and have been struggling for years.

Bornn said Gap ran too many stores in underperforming malls that were weighing on its bottom line.

The company will also eliminate 250 jobs at its corporate headquarters in San Francisco.

The New York Times contributed to this report. Send your retail news to