One of America’s largest retailers is in trouble. After experiencing negative sales growth over the last 2 years, the company has announced management changes and is reviewing its Gap and Old Navy brand strategies (The Gap Inc. includes Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Forth & Towne chains). Rumour also has it that the company is considering a sale.
When was the last time that you bought anything for yourself at the Gap? Unfortunately, it’s been years since I’ve done so and this makes me sad. I’ve always enjoyed the Gap’s consistently good quality and casual all-American style. But their clothing collections have gone from bad to worse. Criticized for having bland apparel for youths, and fashion-forward apparel for baby boomers, the chain seems to have lost its target focus.
Where is Gap’s gap? Perhaps it is that they are no longer the destination store for jeans and t-shirts. The Gap built its reputation and profits on selling the best basics in the business. Perhaps “basic” is the problem. People today seem to want more for their fashion dollar, and they are getting it from stores like Zara and H&M. It is being left behind in spite of the millions it has spent on its celebrity advertising campaigns.
The Gap is definitely having a hard time defining its position within the retail sphere and sales are eroding because of it. Whether it can be rescued remains to be seen. What would you do to save the chain?