Retailers with a big dependence on brick-and-mortar sales - particularly, via malls - have been hit hard in 2019 as more consumers are opting to shop online, or at big-box stores. Gap ($GPS) has been particularly impacted, seeing shares about 35% this year. 

To be certain, the Gap is not the brand it once was. Its Facebook Talking About Count has shrunk over time - and its Facebook Were Here Count (not pictured) has also been disappointing as of late. But, it may not be losing customers - so much as it is losing stores, and our next graphic tracks that. 

Gap is running fewer stores these days. In fact, it seems to be scaling back its footprint each quarter. After the first quarter of this year, it saw store count draw back 2.78%, and so far this quarter, store count appears to have fallen another 5%. And, this could go a long way to explain our final graphic.

Every year, to staff up for both back-to-school shopping and for the holidays, Gap has a recent history of staffing up big-time. But, it's slowing, as its store count continues to slide. Job postings increased about 13% in 2018. This year? They rose less than 7%. And next quarter will include a critical read on the company's fall sales prospects - so if the lag in hiring continues, it spells further challenges for the clothing retailer. 

In the first quarter of this year, Gap announced it would divide itself from Old Navy, a similar retailer that has had better prospects. It's not clear what Gap's post-Old Navy strategy is - but it is cleaving off one of its growing brands, perhaps in part to satisfy both analysts and investors disappointed with the company's share price as of late. 

The company will report earnings on August 22 and analysts tracked by Zacks Investment Research are looking for EPS $0.52. 

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using 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. 

Further Reading: 

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