Call it a spin-in

Instead of spinning out Old Navy, Gap ($NYSE:GPS) decided to call it quits on the plan to part ways with its popular brand, instead retaining the discount clothing retailer with a growing footprint inside the Gap umbrella, and likely preventing the legacy parent from the same kind of mall-based pain other popular brands are facing. 

Gap stock shot up on the news it's keeping Old Navy as a brand - and our map above highlights why. Users can break down store count (and recent growth, using the keys at the bottom of the map) by brand, and see specifically where they are located. 

Our next chart focuses on Old Navy in particular - its store count keeps rising, going up nearly 10% in 2019 alone. On the other hand, Banana Republic and Gap have seen store count decline (not shown). 

Spinning out Old Navy would have cut loose a growing brand from the Gap's portfolio, at the same time other assets were shrinking their footprint - not necessarily a great recipe for salvation of the parent entity.

That's not to say that Gap's got nothing going in it's favor - athleisure brand Athleta is suppling its top line with store count growth - but Old Navy was a big driver of revenue for Gap, and now, that's not going to change. 

Still, there are other Gap subsidiaries - as well as the flagship company - that are seeing store count decline. Banana Republic store count, shown above, is down about 12% over a four-year period, and Gap stores' footprint shrunk (not shown) fell a whopping 20% over the same timeframe. 

Having made the call to keep Old Navy, Gap appears to have made the call to reduce open positions - the big spikes in data represent pre-holiday hiring, which appears to come off the board all at once. But most notable thing in our chart is the steeper-than-average reduction in job postings to begin 2020. Right now, job postings are a low not seen since 2017, which could signal longer-term plans to cut back on staffing for underperforming locations - or, to eliminate them completely in the long-run, like so many other popular chains have done to stave off the retail apocalypse. 

Gap's earnings are coming at the end of February - allowing it plenty of time to get an explanation ready for investors. 

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About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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