Where will Old Navy’s new captain steer the ship?
For several years, Old Navy was the clear bright spot among the portfolio of struggling brands owned by Gap Inc. That was until last year when the chain began falter. The big question this morning is whether a newly appointed CEO, Sonia Syngal, a 12-year vet with Gap Inc. will be able to right the Old Navy ship or if the chain is destined to sink further.
First for the background: In October of last year, Old Navy saw its president, Stefan Larsson, leave the company to become CEO of Ralph Lauren. Mr. Larsson, a former executive at H&M, was widely credited with helping to put new life into the Old Navy brand using some of the fast fashion supply and branding practices learned at his former job.
By the end of the year, Old Navy had posted its fourth consecutive year of sales growth. Unfortunately, comparable store sales had gone flat in the fourth quarter compared to rising five percent during the same period in 2014.
The beginning of 2016 has not provided a cause for optimism. Last month, comp sales at Old Navy were down six percent globally compared to being up 14 percent the year before. Comp sales were also flat in February and down six percent in January.
The hiring of Ms. Syngal brings her back to Old Navy where she served as senior vice president of the retailer’s international division in 2013 until she was chosen to serve as Gap Inc.’s executive vice president of global supply chain and product operations. In that role, Ms. Syngal worked with her predecessor and his team to develop Old Navy’s system for speeding products to market.
Art Peck, CEO of Gap Inc., called Ms. Syngal “an inspiring leader with a proven track record leading transformation and driving product-to-market innovations.”
Ms. Syngal said Old Navy’s key to growth will lie in remaining “focused on balancing amazing product with operational excellence.”
- Sonia Syngal Appointed To Lead Old Navy’s Next Phase of Growth – Gap Inc.
- Can a fast fashion vet steer Ralph Lauren’s ship? – RetailWire
- Gap Inc. Reports March Sales Results – Gap Inc.
- Gap Inc. Reports February Sales Results – Gap Inc.
- Gap Inc. Reports January and Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2015 Results – Gap Inc.
What do you see as the keys to Old Navy getting its business back on track? Is Sonia Syngal the right person to lead the company at this time?