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Gap has decided to close 175 stores across North America over the next few years as it attempts to turn around the business.

A “limited number” of European shops would also close, the retailer said in a statement.

In addition, the San Francisco-based will also cut about 250 jobs from its head office.Gap to close 175 stores

Gap has been struggling with falling sales as it competes with the likes of Europe’s H&M and Zara.

Like-for-like sales for the Gap brand fell by 15% in April, compared with a 3% rise in the same month last year.

Gap CEO Art Peck said: “Returning Gap brand to growth has been the top priority since my appointment four months ago.

“Customers are rapidly changing how they shop today, and these moves will help get Gap back to where we know it deserves to be in the eyes of consumers.”

Gap store closures will mean a loss of sales worth about $300 million, the retailer said, with one-off costs expected to be between $140 million to $160 million.

The retailer did not say how many employees would be laid off as a result.

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If you run a retail store, you depend on the visual presentation of your products to inspire your customers to make purchases. In many ways, visual displays affect customer behavior more than price points, online marketing, sales and other promotions can. From clothing to jewelry, how well or poorly your products are put on view can be either a boon or a death knell for sales. If you’d like to improve the presentation of your store’s wares in order to boost your bottom line, here are six practices, tips and suggestions that should do the trick.

Use High-Quality Displays

store-displaysWhether you’re displaying records, raincoats, tomatoes or stockings, the quality of your displays reflects mightily on the quality of your store and products.

If racks, hangers, display cases and shelves appear disheveled or rickety, your customers will judge your business accordingly. Before you try and beef up your store’s display presentations, invest in store fixtures, shelving and showcases — like those at M Fried— that let your customers know your business believes in quality.

Make Use of a Theme

Deciding on a theme or “look” for all of the displays within your store will not only make decisions about multiple displays easier, but a repetitive and consistent theme will unite your merchandise in a way your customers will find pleasing, inspiring and thought-provoking. When you employ a theme, think of it as an umbrella under which every display should fall.

To that end, employ plenty of props and other items you don’t even sell in order to create what will feel like an event and narrative for your customers. You want to tell a story throughout your store that they can envision as their own. For instance, a store’s summer theme could have one display that references the beach, while another could reference a night at the drive-in movie. Still others could utilize camping or gardening storylines. The point is to have different visual presentations that still offer a unifying experience for your customers.

Change Displays Regularly

One of the most important ways to ensure your displays are earning you sales is to change them on a regular basis. When you’re putting a lot of thought and energy into displays, this tip can feel a bit overwhelming, but change doesn’t have to happen every week. So long as you update displays at least every two months (although once a month is better), you should be in good shape.

This continually unique experience will provide your customers with a new experience of your merchandise, encouraging them to consider products they haven’t yet tried when they come into your store. And by all means, any time you receive a new round of products, change those displays to highlight them!

Make Use of a Better Floor Plan Strategy

Where your displays are placed around your store is another important consideration that can hurt or help sales, which is why you need to examine your store’s overall floor plan strategy. With and without displays, your store needs to allow traffic to flow freely and smoothly. Place your largest and most impressive displays in areas that see the most traffic — like right where customers enter and windows, for example. Avoid placing large displays along walls on in corners, as these will be missed by many of your customers.

Add Desire

Desire is the backbone of all successful advertising — it’s why neuromarketing is a real field— and building desire into your visual displays will help them appeal more readily to your customers. To build desire, place your newest, most expensive and most craved-after products in your most prominent displays. Utilize height and depth so your customers can be up close and personal with the items they will want to purchase. By showcasing products you will create a longing that can lead to a purchase.

Lighting! Lighting! Lighting!

Easily overlooked and mightily essential, good lighting is a must for any effective store display. Hopefully, your store lighting is already warm and inviting, but a good display should be lit additionally. Whether you employ showcases and shelving that have built-in lights or you make use of additional ceiling fixtures, wall-mounted fixtures or individual floor lights, add a bit of drama to your displays by lighting them in a way that will draw even more positive attention to the items they feature.

A retail store that makes use of beautiful and effective visual displays has customers who feel like they’re entering a story they can make their own. Follow these tips, and your efforts in your store’s visual field will pay off in a healthy bottom line.

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Carrefour is shutting its business in India less than four years after it opened its first store in the country.

One of the world’s largest retail chains, Carrefour currently operates five cash and carry wholesale stores in India.

The French retailer has been exiting underperforming markets, including Singapore, Malaysia and Greece, under chief executive Georges Plassat’s three-year revival plan.

It has said it wants to focus on key markets in Europe, China and Brazil.

Carrefour is shutting its business in India less than four years after it opened its first store in the country

Carrefour is shutting its business in India less than four years after it opened its first store in the country

India opened up its multi-brand retail sector to foreign companies in 2012.

But it has put pre-conditions, including those on local sourcing and infrastructure investment, and has also left the final decision on whether to allow foreign companies to open stores to individual state governments.

Many analysts have said the pre-conditions have deterred foreign companies from entering the sector.

So far, only one company – the UK’s Tesco – has announced plans to open stores in the country.

The decision to open up the sector to foreign firms also faced political opposition at the time.

The Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) – which has recently formed a new government in India – had opposed the move arguing that the arrival of big name supermarkets may hurt the small retailers in the country.