Thinking

Gap CEO’s Exit Raises Questions On Future Of The Struggling, Iconic Brand

Following last year’s news that the Gap will close almost 200 underperforming stores, the brand’s current president and CEO Jeff Kirwan has just stepped down after heading it for four years. Gap Inc. has shifted its focus from brands like the Gap and Banana Republic to fast-fashion retailer Old Navy and athleisure chain Athleta. The company’s CEO Art Peck believes this move will allow the company to reach customers where they are shopping, which includes strip centers and lifestyles centers, instead of the declining enclosed malls where the Gap and Banana Republic store locations are concentrated.

Vivaldi CEO and Founder Erich Joachimsthaler¬†spoke to Forbes about the Gap’s future outlook, calling it at present “a brand that has gone bland” due to the staleness of its basic looks. “Retailers playing in the basic-apparel space must evaluate that strategy in the current retail climate amid commoditization,” he says. “There is an oversupply of basics by competitors like Uniqlo or the Amazon private labels with a better business model. Trying to compete against them is as hard as pressing water out of a stone.”

He notes that the brand¬†“needs to take risks with an entirely new approach to the category, or else the category punishes [it] into certain demise.”

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