Old Navy Sees Smooth Sailing Ahead
Old Navy has international aspirations and the Gap Inc. division thinks its value-priced fashions, along with a new president recruited from H&M, has it positioned to navigate the competitive storms ahead.
Stefan Larsson will become the first global brand president for Old Navy when he joins the company in October. He has nearly 15 years learning fast-fashion the H&M way, most recently serving as head of global sales with responsibility for about 2,300 H&M stores around the world.
"Stefan is a rising star within apparel retail with proven experience in the value sector. He’s tackled some of the most complex challenges in our industry and has a deep appreciation for the need to balance great product and operational excellence," said Glenn Murphy, chairman and CEO of Gap Inc., in a statement. "Stefan understands Old Navy’s unique brand positioning and significant potential for future growth in North America and around the world."
Old Navy saw its North America same-store sales increase 11 percent in March.
Mr. Larsson said, "Success starts with having amazing product in the ideal stores in each market. Few brands capture the loyalty of consumers like Old Navy, and it’s incredibly exciting to have the opportunity to take this uniquely American and family-focused brand through its next phase of growth."
Gap Inc. and other American retailers have recently looked to incorporate some of the practices of fast-fashion merchants to better compete with the likes of H&M. In a recent RetailWire poll, 73 percent of respondents said fast-fashion chains represented a "big" competitive threat to chains that sourced apparel in the traditional manner.
- Gap Hires H&M Global Sales Head to Lead Old Navy Amid Expansion – Bloomberg News
- Gap Inc. Names Global Brand President for Old Navy – Gap Inc.
- U.S. Retailers Try to Get Faster with Fashions – RetailWire
Discussion Questions: What do you see as the opportunities and challenges ahead for Old Navy as it seeks to expand its operations outside of North America? What is your thinking on the hire of Stefan Larsson from H&M?