It's another death knell for New Jersey malls as one of the biggest retailers in the country pulls out of ALL of them. Is there a person living in New Jersey who doesn’t own an article of clothing purchased at the Gap or Banana Republic? The ubiquitous retailer has announced that it is closing 350 stores —130 Banana Republics and 220 Gaps. And they’re exiting malls entirely, according to the realdeal.com.

The loss of faith in the mall as a revenue stream for retailers is just another sad fact of the current retail landscape. And if online shopping didn’t finish the stores off, then the coronavirus pandemic did. I still have a box of baby clothes from Baby Gap that I’m saving to hand down to my grandkids. Gap Kids was the first place I would stop for clothing when my kids were young. They always have the best quality, fair pricing and cool design.

As an adult, I can’t tell you how many pairs of jeans, cozy sweaters and simple tailored dresses I purchased at Gap. I have Banana Republic clothing in my closet that I’ve worn for years. Gap and Banana Republic both meant quality and still do. But now, if you want to shop in either of those stores, you’ll have to settle for the outlets as that is where the company sees the future of its retail business.

According to the article, by early 2024, 80% of stores will be in off-mall locations. It’s not all sad news for the parent company, though. They plan to open 30 to 40 new Old Navy stores and 100 new Athleta stores in the next three years. But it won’t be the same. Neither of those can take the place of what were once first-line destinations for well made and stylish apparel for men, women, babies and kids.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi's own.