American multinational clothing and accessories retailer Gap is planning to close more than 175 specialty stores in North America over the next few years, in a move to improve business performance.

Of the proposed store closures, over 140 will occur this fiscal year.

The retailer plans to decrease its store count and streamline its headquarter workforce, primarily in North America.

The company is expected to post annualized sales loss of around $300m associated with the store closures.

Gap will slash 250 jobs at its headquarters during fiscal year 2015.

These actions will not impact Gap Outlet and Gap Factory stores.

After reducing its store fleet size, the company will continue to operate 500 Gap specialty locations and 300 Gap outlet stores across North America.

Gap CEO Art Peck said: "Returning Gap brand to growth has been the top priority since my appointment four months ago – and Jeff and his team bring a sense of urgency to this work.

"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."

With the proposed changes, the company is expected to save around $25m in costs annually, beginning in 2016.