1.0 – Understanding the GAP
- GAP OVERVIEW -
Since 1969, GAP has been filling closets with khakis, jeans and t-shirts and it was the iconic casual-wear brand built on basics for men, women and children. However, after 4 consecutive years of falling sales and fashion mis-steps, this retail icon has become the poster child for a titan that had lost touch with its core consumers.
At the GAP, you could smell change coming like the shift from Summer to Fall and in early 2007 Paul Pressler, CEO since 2002, left the company. Filling his shoes, as chairman and CEO, is Glenn Murphy: a well respected Canadian retailer based on his successes at Shopper’s Drug Mart, Loblaws and Chapters/Indigo. Patrick Robinson – credited with turning around Giorgio Armani’s Collezioni line and runway hits with Perry Ellis – was also tapped for the Head Designer job.
While many analysts feel that it will take until at least this Fall to understand the pair’s new direction for the company and its design, Murphy has to date embarked on a cost-cutting management strategy that has seen store numbers and often sizes reduced, plus renegotiated contracts terms with its key suppliers. Robinson meanwhile has launched the ‘Classics Redefined’ campaign, including: The Little Black Sweater Dress, The Tailored White Shirt, The Short-Sleeved Turtleneck and The Soft Tailored Blazer to name a few.
- GAP HISTORY -
Donald & Doris Fisher open ‘Generation Gap’ store in San Francisco, CA
Concentrate on selling Levi’s Jeans and records.
Hippie teens fell for the counter-culture brand personality.
Expansion into active-wear broadens target market.
Expansion to 200 stores by 1976 and floatation on the NY and Pacific stock exchanges. 1980s
Quickly reaches the 500 store mark by 1983.
Hire’s Mickey Drexler as President and Chief Operating Officer.
Lessens dependence on Levi’s and emphases growth of private labels.
Removes racks of clothing and replaces them with white shelves of neatly folder clothes. 1990s
Cracks the 1,000 store mark and reporting strong sales month over month.
Open first international stores in Canada and the UK.
Sales begin to unexpectedly decline.
Stores reduced from high of 1,600 in 2002 to 1,338 in 2007.
Speculations on the reasons for decline have been many, most commonly including: o
A Shift In Brand (no connection to its outsider roots)
A Shift in Fashion (trend of individuality bucks the ‘Gap Uniform’) o
A Shift in Competition (the rise of discount Fast Fashion chains) o
A Shift in Demographics (Echo generation determines what is ‘cool’ for Boomer parents) o
A Shift in Consumption (BCBG’s identified “Trading Up and Trading Down” trend leaves no room for mid-priced retailers)
2.0 – Understanding Current Perceptions
- GAP Trinity -
What business are we in?
Canadian Casual Apparel
What needs are being met?
Specialized stores: work going out, personal going out, weekend/home clothes
High Price, Low Price
Teenage cuts + Self-Expression
What needs are unmet?
Multi-function clothes store: for office / personal & going out / staying in clothes
Practical fashion: enduring style, durable wear and in fashion
No store for me: F age 30-45 Young At Hearts
Knowledgeable sales staff (re: care of clothes)
Bright, quiet atmosphere and clean, accessible displays
Service, not sales
Who are they?
M = 28-45, F = 25-40; HHI 45-65k
Under pressure: new career, new family
Financial worries: probable downturn in economy + housing market, rising fuel prices
Have more $ than when younger, but more things to buy, less time to spend $ What do they need?
A quick and simple shopping experience
One place for practical, affordable fashion for work and home
Customer service, not pushy sales staff
30+ Don’t want to shop at stores for “people their age” How do they buy?
Quickly: won’t tolerate crowded...
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