WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GAP?
The financial pages report that the Gap(Old Navy, Banana Republic) is sinking fast. Evidently the young demographic that they are geared towards has elected to take their credit cards else where.
Over a year ago they tried to buoy business by establishing a new division called Towne and Forth. Maybe the name was their first mistake. It certainly gave no hint as to what they were selling. I for one thought it was men's wear. So I was surprised to see an ad for them in MORE magazine featuring attractive, smart looking dresses with sleeves no less, stylish but not matronly. I looked forward to checking them out but they never opened in my part of the country.(Long Island, NYC)
Boomers grew up with the GAP and if the population I encounter on my frequent visits is any indication,many still shop there and also at Banana Republic searching for updated tee shirts, jeans and workout wear. However those basics are in short supply. The Gap is still courting the teens and twenty somethings with Abercrombie style knock offs. Banana Republic in its latest collection looks like an Ann Taylor wannabe but a shade more boring. Judging from the overstocks, this tactic is not working. The Boomers, the first wave of which joined our over 60 group last year is the fasting growing demographic in the nation, They clutch a good handful of disposable income and are hungry for the kind of good quality, casual clothes that will fit their active lifestyle. It's a natural for the GAP
They would do well to take another look at Towne & Forth and try to remedy whatever happened there. Maybe a lack of advertising? As for their original Gap and Banana Republic stores, do a test market with some stylish, well cut basics for the Boomers and the rest of us, keeping in mind that we don't buy boring.