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Abercrombie, Gap prepare to reopen stores as lockdowns ease

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Abercrombie, Gap prepare to reopen stores as lockdowns ease

FILE PHOTO: An Abercrombie & Fitch store is shown in La Jolla, California,

(Reuters) - Abercrombie & Fitch Co <ANF.N> and cash-strapped Gap Inc <GPS.N> on Wednesday laid out plans to reopen stores in areas where lockdown curbs have eased, while also introducing social-distancing measures.

Retailers are trying to restart business activity brought to a standstill due to the COVID-19 lockdowns. Their stores have remained closed for weeks and have resulted in thousands of workers being laid off or furloughed.

Several U.S. states, led by Texas and Georgia, have begun a phased reopening of businesses as they look to restart their economies, but health experts have warned lifting restrictions too quickly could spark a new wave of infections.

Gap, which had warned it may not survive the next 12 months, said it would open a few stores in Texas this weekend. It aims to reopen up to 800 stores across brands such as Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic by the end of May. (

The company said it would be temporarily closing fitting rooms and restrooms at stores that will be operating with reduced hours, while encouraging shoppers to wear face coverings and maintain distance from one another.

Abercrombie too has started reopening stores, but did not provide the number of outlets or their specific locations. Macy's Inc <M.N> and Coach owner Tapestry Inc <TPR.N> have also begun reopening stores in the United States.

(Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Arun Koyyur)