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Gap, Banana Republic closing 200 stores

Gap Inc., which owns Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta and two other brands, will close hundreds of stores to make way for new ones. 

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According to The Associated Press, the clothing retailer plans to close 200 Gap and Banana Republic stores in the next three years. The company plans to open 270 new Old Navy and Athleta stores during that time. 

The move supports efforts to leverage Old Navy and Athleta, which have reported rising sales, while Gap and Banana Republic have reported drops in sales.

Gap Inc., like many other retailers, has seen the impact of consumers’ preference to shop online, making it difficult for some brick-and-mortar stores to report significant earnings.

According to the AP, Old Navy is on track to surpass $10 billion in sales in the next few years, and Athleta is expected to exceed $1 billion in sales.

Read more at The Associated Press.

Wet Seal closing all stores

Clothing retailer Wet Seal will close all stores, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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According to the Journal, the teen retailer sent a letter to the company's workers at its California headquarters on Jan. 20, notifying them of the permanent shutdown. 

"Unfortunately, the company was unable to obtain the necessary capital or identify a strategic partner and was recently informed that it will receive no further financing for its operations," Wet Seal's vice president, Michelle Stocker, wrote in the letter.

Wet Seal, which closed 338 stores two years ago, will close its remaining 171 stores in 42 states. 

More than 1,000 store employees will be laid off, and 148 employees in the company's headquarters will also lose their jobs, according to a public notice.

In January 2015, Wet Seal previously filed for bankruptcy protection before being acquired by Versa Capital Management LLC for $7.5 million in cash.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

Macy's to close 100 stores

Reuters contributed to this report.

After seeing a drop in store sales, Macy's has said it will close 100 stores, Reuters reported.

The company's last six consecutive quarters have shown declining sales. 

Sales in stores open at least a year, including sales in departments licensed to third parties, fell 2 percent, according to analysts polled by research firm Consensus Metrix.

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The stock in the company has fallen 50 percent in the last 12 months, the Associated Press reported. Shareholders' net income fell to $11 million, or 3 cents per share, in the second quarter from $217 million, or 64 cents per share, a year earlier.

"Whenever there's been a setback in our company, we've been first in the industry to take a very aggressive stance at moving us forward," CEO Terry Lundgren told CNBC's "Squawk Box." "That's just part of it. By closing 100 stores, we're getting out in front of this." 

Macy's currently has 728 stores, 675 of which are full-line stores. Most of the store closings will begin in early 2017. Macy’s did not disclose which stores it will close.

"We believe that this reduction of 100 locations in the short term will result in a more appropriate store portfolio for Macy's in the longer term and help us to accelerate our progress in building a vibrant omnichannel brand experience," Jeff Gennette, who will take over as CEO in the first quarter of 2017, said in a release.

Some retailers use misleading 'skinny mirrors' in fitting rooms

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A California-based company is selling mirrors that trick people into thinking they're slimmer than they really are. 

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In a segment that aired March 9 on NBC's "Rossen Reports," Jeff Rossen examined the mirrors and their affects on women's shopping experiences and ideas about body image. 

Women who tried on clothes in front of The Skinny Mirror at a retail store in New York described themselves as "slimmer," "longer" and "taller."

"The clothes look better in the store than they actually do in real life so when I get home, it doesn't look the same," one shopper said.

The Skinny Mirror claims it "works on the psyche over time" and "gives users the instant visual gratification of a 'slimmer you' while educating that how you choose to feel about your body has nothing to do with your actual shape, size or weight."

The company, founded in 2013 by Belinda Jasmine-Bertzfield, produces mirrors designed to make one's reflection appear 5 to 10 pounds thinner. The Skinny Mirror claims the mirrors can boost stores' retail sales by up to 18 percent.

"It's really subtle," Jasmine-Bertzfield said of the mirror's effects. "It just gives you that little bit of extra hourglass."

Retail expert Andrea Woroch disagrees with the idea. 

"Retailers will use skinny mirrors to deceive customers into looking a certain way when they try on their clothing," Woroch said. "The better they look, the more likely they are to buy something."

But Jasmine-Bertzfield said the mirrors aren't intended to only make people look slimmer. They're made to encourage greater body satisfaction. 

"It's actually not about making people look good. It's about making them feel good," she said.

Jasmine-Bertzfield said she came up with the idea for The Skinny Mirror after struggling with body image issues that she said were fueled by a "warped" and "distorted" mirror she had for three years.

She pitched the idea on the television show "Shark Tank" in October 2015.

"I would love to have a mirror that made me look thinner in my home, (but in a store,) the customer doesn't know what they truly look like," said one woman who participated in Rossen's investigation.

Jasmine-Bertzfield said The Skinny Mirror was "first designed for the individual for personal use." The company's website says more than half of sales of the mirror "have been to individuals and homes." It wasn't until the mirrors gained attention that retailers began purchasing the mirrors for their stores.

To combat critics who say The Skinny Mirror is unethical and deceptive in stores, the company began marking the mirrors with their logo to distinguish skinny mirrors from regular mirrors.

The word "skinny" appears on the mirror in the bottom right-hand corner. The logo is smaller than the size of a pinky finger.

The mirrors sell for between $165 and $5,500, depending on the size and frame materials.

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