Does the Janie and Jack deal point to a new direction for Gap sans Old Navy?
With Gap and Old Navy splitting off into two companies, the once-popular mall retailer won’t have the fast-fashion brand’s success to prop it up. As it searches for ways to stand on its own two feet, the former parent company could be pursuing a new niche in kids’ clothing — thanks to a separate apparel industry shakeup.
Gap plans to acquire Janie and Jack, a high-end children’s clothing brand formerly owned by Gymboree, for $35 million, according to The Wall Street Journal. The planned acquisition comes as part of Gymboree’s bankruptcy and still requires vetting in bankruptcy court. The Gymboree name and its Crazy 8 kids’ clothing brand are being sold to The Children’s Place, a chain that had been a direct competitor of Gymboree.
Janie and Jack has 140 standalone stores, according to reporting by Patch.
As Gap attempts to pick up Janie and Jack, it is getting rid of many of its own locations, as reported last week. Gap plans to close around 230 of its 725 stores (excluding those in China). The chain frames the closures as part of a strategic restructuring that will cull under-performing locations.
While it might be better known for the khakis and button-ups of its 1990s heyday, Gap has long had children-oriented sub-brands both in stores and in standalone locations. GapKids was introduced in the late 1980s, and babyGap was launched in 1990. Both predated the creation of Old Navy.
It remains to be seen whether moving into designer children’s clothing with Janie and Jack could be the path to the brand reinvention the chain needs. But Gap needs to do something now that it’s on its own as its earlier attempts at updating its look and feel have been notoriously unsuccessful.
In 2010, for instance, the chain tried to update its logo as part of a rebranding effort. The new logo was so widely panned that the term “Gapgate” arose to describe the situation. Years later, the situation was still being referred to as one of the worst branding failures in history on websites like Medium.
- Children’s Place and Gap Winners of Gymboree Auction – The Wall Street Journal
- Gymboree Bankruptcy Official, Plan Tries To Save Janie And Jack – Patch
- What will going separate ways mean for Gap and Old Navy? – RetailWire
- Gap announces plan to close more than 200 stores in the next two years – Today
- The Gap, Inc. History – Funding Universe
- GAP: 6 years later — still worst rebrand ever – Medium
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Given Gap’s announced plans to split off from Old Navy, does the Janie and Jack acquisition — and a corresponding focus on kid’s brands — offer a promising way forward for Gap? Does the planned Janie and Jack acquisition give you a better read on how Gap intends to go forward without Old Navy?