Gap plans move into non-apparel categories
Apparel retailers are struggling with lockdown restrictions, but those that were already struggling before have an extra tough road ahead of them — and that includes Gap Inc. The retailer has long struggled to return to relevance. Now, for the first time, Gap is looking for growth outside of apparel with an entry into categories it has never before explored.
Home décor, furniture and textiles are the newly announced spaces where Gap will be selling products as part of a deal with licensing firm IMG, according to a story on Business of Home. Gap-owned Banana Republic and Janie and Jack will also be expanding into new categories, which have yet to be named. Additionally, Gap will be launching baby equipment and care products, presumably under its existing baby clothing brands.
Gap has long since slid from the height of casual fashion to the top of the discount bin. In recent years, it had relied primarily on the success of fast-fashion imprint Old Navy to keep it afloat while the other brands in its portfolio faltered.
Things had gotten rocky even for Old Navy by the end of 2019. For Q3 of last year, Gap Inc.’s three biggest brands, Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy, posted same-store declines.
Throughout 2019, Gap had been planning to spin off Old Navy into an independent and unaffiliated company, but after nearly a full year of planning to make the move, the chain announced early in 2020 that the companies would remain together.
Late last year, the retailer announced that CEO Art Peck would be stepping down from his role. Mr. Peck had tried numerous strategies to create a turnaround as Gap with limited success. He was replaced in March by former Old Navy CEO Sonia Syngal.
Gap is among the retailers planning to begin slowly reopening its stores as some U.S. states and cities begin lifting lockdown restrictions, according to The New York Times. Gap plans to have 800 of its Gap, Old Navy, Athleta and Banana Republic stores doing business again by the end of the month in a move Ms. Syngal calls “responsibly aggressive.”
- Gap inks home decor deal – Business of Home
- Are Gap Inc and Old Navy better off together? – RetailWire
- Gap Inc’s CEO steps down, what comes next? – RetailWire
- Can Old Navy’s boss lead a turnaround at Gap Inc. – RetailWire
- Gap Plans to Reopen Up to 800 Stores by the End of May – The New York Times
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is it wise for Gap Inc. to move into home décor and other non-apparel categories? Which of its retail brands do you think is most likely to find success diversifying into other areas?