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Gap Inc. Opens ‘Laboratory’ Stores at Renovated HQ

Gap Inc. is reimagining retail as laboratories for its four brands.

The company opened retail spaces for Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta at its newly remodeled global headquarters on Folsom Street in San Francisco. Covering 18,000-square-feet, the stores serve as spaces for the brands to test products and retail technology innovations.

The four “laboratory” stores are part of Gap Inc.’s two-year renovation of its global hub. The building boasts 15 floors of flexible, creative office space as well as amenities like a rooftop cafeteria and outdoor dining terrace overlooking the bay, a coffee bar and lounge in the lobby.

The ground floor houses the “Co-Lab” maker studio where visitors can watch creative teams at work.

Gap Inc. executives feted the opening during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday.

“Our customers are central to every business decision we make, and we’re excited to welcome our hometown community and visitors alike to experience our four iconic brands inside our redesigned San Francisco hub,” said Sonia Syngal, Gap Inc. CEO. “This reimagined space invites customers into the heart of our company, where our artists and designers, data scientists and technologists, sourcing and logistics experts, customer evangelists, and futurists will test new store technologies, consumer experiences and product innovations.”

New insights and ideas are welcomed as the company sets out to “re-stablize” its Old Navy brand ahead of the back-to-school and holiday seasons. The family-focused apparel brand has run into issues with late-arriving inventory and size imbalances, resulting in a 19 percent drop in net sales year over year.

The company, however, continues to expect to open about 30 to 40 stores each for Old Navy and Athleta in fiscal year 2022.