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Reuters reports that Gap Inc. plans "to shut about 65 company-operated stores this year, compared with its previous forecast of about 50 stores." The company also said that it "expected a further drop in traffic during the crucial holiday shopping season ... The company reported its seventh straight quarterly sales decline in the three months ended Oct. 29 as demand for its Gap and Banana Republic brands remained sluggish.

• The Wall Street Journal reports that Staples has sold its UK business for what it calls "nominal proceeds" to an Illinois-based restructuring and turnaround investor. The deal, the story says, allows Staples "to get rid of underperforming assets without having to search for a strategic buyer that might never materialize or deal with the distraction and expense of winding it down."

Expectations are that the company will phase out the Staples name, run the company under new management, and eventually sell the chain.
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