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The Gap, Incorporated is
an American clothing and accessories retailer and founded in 1969 by Donald
Fisher and Doris F. Fisher. The company has four primary brands: Gap, Banana
Republic, Old Navy and Piperlime.
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Suri Cruise face of Baby Gap
Suri Cruise is to become a star in her own right after she was signed as the new face of Baby Gap, according to reports. Actor parents Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were reportedly offered a lucrative modeling contract by the clothes chain for their 16-month-old daughter to front an upcoming campaign. Suri's first photo shoot was in October 2006 when she made the front cover of Vanity Fair with her parents. The pictures were shot by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz.
15 August 2007
Gap to downsize in UK
Gap is considering downsizing its store portfolio in Britain as part of a comprehensive review of its UK retail presence. The US retailer has appointed property agent Churston Heard to look at its 171-strong UK chain. It is understood that the group has already held discussions with several landlords about store closures. A source close to the company said: "They are looking to get rid of underperforming units and shift away from secondary retail sites. "Since 2002 rents have gone up from £20 per square foot to around £40 per square foot.
Gap is saying it cannot make it pay at that level." Both Gap and Churston Heard declined to expand on the details of the property review. But a Gap spokeswoman said: "We do, as every business does, review our property portfolio on an ongoing basis. However the business is committed to Europe which we feel will be the growth engine of the business."
26 June 2007
Gap to expand in Middle East
The Gap has announced separate franchise agreements with retailers in Saudi Arabia and Turkey to introduce the Gap and Banana Republic brands to those markets. Over the next five years, Gap Inc.'s franchise partners -- Fawaz Alhokair Group (Saudi Arabia), and Fiba Holding A.S. (Turkey) -- plan to open a combined total of approximately 90 Gap stores and 20 Banana Republic stores throughout Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
The first Gap stores will open in each country by the end of this year, and the first Banana Republic stores are expected to open in each country by spring 2008. All stores are expected to be open by 2012.
"Both Saudi Arabia and Turkey represent natural markets for Gap Inc. to expand its international presence," said Ron Young, senior vice president of international strategic alliances for Gap Inc. "Each of these countries has a strong, steadily growing economy, and consumers in these markets have a great interest in iconic apparel brands such as ours."
14 June 2007
Gap sales still on the decline
Clothing firm Gap has seen same-store sales drop 16% year-on-year in April, continuing a two-year downward trend. The worse-than-expected slump in the four weeks to 5 May came after cool weather harmed light clothing sales. An early Easter also meant fewer items were bought as gifts, denting sales at Gap shops as well as the firm's Banana Republic and Old Navy stores.
The news comes as the retailer is seeking a new chief executive, after Paul Pressler stepped down in January. Mr Pressler, who had been at the helm of the giant clothing firm since 2002, departed after mutual agreement. Gap's non-executive director Robert Fisher has taken over as temporary head of the retailer.
11 May 2007
Gap pulls plug on Forth & Towne
Fashion label Forth & Towne is closing its doors after less than two years of business. Struggling parent company Gap Inc has decided to pull the plug on the women's wear label, choosing instead to focus on its flailing and overexposed Gap and Old Navy brands. The closure of Forth & Towne is said to cost the group $40 million before taxes, but will eventually clear the way for a large-scale restructuring of its retail business.
Gap Inc is dealing with increased competition from the likes of Abercrombie & Fitch and H&M and its Gap brand has lost its edge as a purveyor of timeless quality basics with great individuality. According to industry experts, the group's challenge is to cut back its number of oversized stores and work on its merchandise. It has chosen to forgo the challenge of building on its fledgling Forth & Towne business – a brand it established to target women over 35 – and to repair the damage suffered by its older brands. Gary Muto, Forth & Towne president, will most likely leave the company, reports WWD. The group said it would try to slot the 550 employees, whose jobs will be affected by the closure, into jobs at Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy.
27 February 2007
London calling Banana Republic
One of the US 's tried-and-true success formula's is coming to London . Banana Republic will open on Regent's Street next year. Parent company Gap Inc said it had signed a lease for a directly owned store here, but would not reveal any more details.
“With its affinity for fashion and luxury products, the United Kingdom has the potential to be a strong market for Banana Republic, and our customers in Europe have expressed a great deal of interest in us bringing the here,” Stephen Sunnucks, president of Gap Inc Europe, said in a statement. “This is an exciting first step for Banana Republic in the UK .”
Sunnucks also said the brand was looking to expand into international markets as a whole. “International is an important potential area of growth for Gap Inc – and as we've said, we are continuing to explore ways to take our existing brands into new countries.” WWD reported that Gap Inc was planning to expand throughout Europe . Executives could not be reached for comment. In the meantime, the Gap and Banana Republic brands are planning to open stores in South Korea through a franchise agreement with Shinsegae International. Gap Inc already has other franchise agreements for the brands in the Middle East , Indonesia , Singapore and Malaysia .
1 February 2007
Gap takes leave of Pressler
Struggling retail giant Gap has sent its president and chief executive Paul Pressler packing after four and a half years of dismal results. Robert J. Fischer, Gap chairman and son of its founder, will take over as chief executive and president until a replacement is found. A subcommittee consisting of independent parties such as former Gucci chief executive Domenico De Sole, has been formed to search for a new company president. Any speculation regarding a possible sale of Gap was countered by those close to the company. “Right now, they're looking for someone who can turn it around,” a source told WWD. “The Fischers absolutely don't want to sell.”
Pressler, who earns $1.5 million a year excluding bonuses, made a promising start at Gap, where he reduced costs, reduced debt and famously launched the company's fourth brand, Forth & Towne. However, his lack of fashion experience – he is a former executive for Walt Disney – and insufficient merchandising know-how led to a stream of disappointments and falling sales. The company said in a statement that Pressler's departure was a mutual decision. "I have enjoyed the opportunity to lead this iconic company over the past four years,” he said in a statement. “It has been a pleasure to work with the management team and such talented people throughout the organization. Gap Inc. is a company with tremendous potential and I wish all the employees much success in the years ahead."
23 January 2007
Upheaval at struggling Gap
As Gap Inc struggles with yet a second prolonged sales dip in six years, the industry is abuzz with speculation of a possible sale of the US retailer. The group has hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to examine “strategic alternatives”, including a sale of part of or all of the company. CNBC television first broadcast the news on Monday, sending Gap shares up 7 percent. Some industry specialists have speculated that a large private equity group might be prepared to purchase the group for an estimated $20 billion, according to some media reports. The same reports theorize that a new management team would then be brought in to clean up the mess chief executive Paul Pressler and his team have failed to clean up.
On Wednesday the group announced the departure of two senior managers at the Gap and Old Navy Brands. Denise Johnston, president of the Gap brand's adult fashion line is leaving after a mere nine months with the firm. Brand president Cynthia Harriss will assume her responsibilities until her replacement is found. Ivy Ross, Old Navy's head designer is also leaving the firm. She joined the group in 2004, when Gap Inc entered its second sales slump. With her departure, the group is losing one of its most well known executives. The company could not be reached for comment.
11 January 2006
Gap's Mouret collaboration on sale
Roland Mouret's Galaxy dress was one of last year's most coveted frocks and was copied by the high street around the world, when actresses such as Scarlett Johansson were photographed wearing the dress. Mouret's status as a world-class designer quickly rose and subsequently landed him a bonanza of a contract with none other than high street conglomerate, the Gap. But according to The Mail, the designer's range for Gap has failed to excite the fashionable consumer. The collection of dresses, which was launched with huge publicity last fall with models such as Lily Cole wearing the collection, is now available at discount prices, filling the store's sales racks at its 3 key London stores. To give you an example, Stella McCartney, Madonna and Viktor & Rolf's collaborations were snapped up within hours and only a few items remained during the sale, with prices doubling on eBay, moments after stores sold out.
Why, you may ask? When fashionista's queued for hours when the collection launched, much like Viktor & Rolf's collaboration with H&M, which sparked a similar media frenzy. To start, fashion experts predicted Mouret's 10 piece dress collection would be an instant sell-out. With prices starting at £45, it seemed a bargain price to pay for a designer dress, albeit manufactured by the high street. The collection, which featured shirt dresses, jersey smocks and shifts in navy, grey, red and black, was indeed a hit, but unfortunately for Gap, only in its early days.
According to The Mail, the demand for Mouret's dresses fell after the first 500 sold. Further more, the newspaper stated the branch in Kensington High Street had several racks of dresses available a week into the sales with other items available in Oxford Street and Knightsbridge. Designs that have failed to sell include a grey shirt dress and the red outfit modelled by teenage supermodel Lily Cole at the collection's launch.
The Cole outfit was to have raised funds for Bono's Product (RED) campaign to fight HIV, which also features Emporio Armani, American Express and Motorola products. A spokeswoman for Gap told The Mail: "There are remaining dresses in the sale, available in three key stores." She further added: "This was never meant to be a limited-edition collection. A lot of the most popular styles sold out in certain sizes within a week.In order to make sure that people had a range of sizes to choose from in each size, we put all of the dresses into just three key London stores, so this may be why it looks like we have a lot in the sale.”
At the launch, Mouret told Vogue.com he was interested in the opportunity to make his designs available to a broader audience and was particularly excited about the Gap (PRODUCT) RED involvement. "This initiative is so important and Gap has given me the opportunity to be able to translate my ideas in a more casual sensibility and at the same time help raise funds that will target the Aids pandemic in Africa.” The Gap collaboration was Mouret's first initiative with his company 19RM, set up together with music mogul Simon Fuller.
Gap has been struggling with its European presence and has been busy setting up a London-based design team, in order to cater to a more fashionable customer, as its American-designed apparel has yet to excite European shoppers.
2 January 2007
Roland Mouret for Gap
Roland Mouret is to take Gap by storm, with the Group hoping the designer of the now infamous Galaxy dress will bring fashionable kudos to the American retailer.
Supermodels Lily Col e and Kim Noorda today helped Roland Mouret launch his official collaboration with the Gap. The designer has created a limited edition range of 10 dresses, which, unlike his mainline, will be affordable and most important of all – available. Small production runs of Mouret's Galaxy dress meant it was primarily worn by celebrities and waiting lists for those who could afford the costly £800 dress.
The new range, on which Mouret worked closely with Gap's London design team, has produced a new generation of must-haves, such as a shirt dress with drawstring waist, a coop-neck tunic in wool crepe, a soft jersey smock and a cute shift with pleated short sleeves. Prices are set to start at £45, with the most expensive item costing £78. The collection will debut in stores on November 7th , two days before the Viktor & Rolf H&M collection is available.
The Gap are staying ahead of the game, with three styles from the collection being sold as part of Gap's Red initiative to fight Aids in Africa. Mouret stated: “I was interested in the opportunity to make my designs available to a broader audience and particularly excited about the Red involvement.”
30 October 2006
Roland Mouret minds the Gap
Roland Mouret will soon be available at Gap. The designer, who recently teamed up with music mogul Simon Fuller of 19 Management, has designed ten dresses for Gap's Autumn / Winter collection, due in store early November.
Three of these designs will be sold as part of Gap's Red range, with 50 per cent of the profits going to the Global Fund to fight Aids. The designs will not have Mouret's name of the garments. The project is Mouret's first since setting up his new business 19RM with pop impresario Fuller.
23 September 2006
Jenny Ming leaves Old Navy
Gap Inc announced that Old Navy president Jenny Ming is planning to leave the fashion chain this fall. “My 19 years with Gap Inc have been exciting and rewarding, particularly the past 12 years spent leading Old Navy,” Ming said. “Now the time is right for me personally, and for the brand, to make a change. I’m confident in the team’s ability to continue executing our strategies, and am committed to ensuring a seamless transition.”
Ming joined Gap Inc in 1986 and held various merchandising functions in the Gap Brand. After helping to launch Old Navy in 1994, she was named president in 1998. She was also instrumental in the development of Gap’s fourth brand, Forth & Towne. President and CEO of Gap Inc, Paul Pressler, thanked Ming for “nearly two decades of tremendous leadership and dedication” to the company. He said the company would look both internally and externally for her successor. “We’re looking for an exceptional leader with strong apparel retail experience, who has a track record inspiring creative teams,” he said. “As we begin this transition, improving Gap Inc’s business performance continues to be our primary focus. I remain confident in the changes we’re making in all of our brands, including Old Navy, to drive our turnaround.”
13 July 2006
Gap to focus design on UK market
UK demands for high street fashion differs greatly from the US, which is why many an American casual brand struggles with fashion on this side of the Atlantic. This certainly rings true for brands such as Banana Republic and LL Bean, who’s khaki-inspired fashion looks great in America, but feels out-of-touch with British style.
Gap, which has long been considering heading up a European design base, has appointed its first UK heads of design across men’s women’s and childrenswear, according to Draper’s.
Dean Gomilsek-Cole has been appointed head of menswear, coming from George, where he was previously mens and boyswear design manager. Earl Jean designer Andree DeLair will head up the womenswear design team and Rachael Field will be in charge of the childrenswear design division, moving from Debenhams.
The appointments are part of gap’s strategy to create a London-based UK team to design specifically for the market. The three designers will report to vice president menswear Kevin Komos and vice president womenswear Margaret McDonald.
Komos stated that the new team’s influence would be seen in the spring 07 collection. He said: “We won’t be moving too far away from our heritage and what Gap is best known for, but we want to broaden out our offer as the UK is more fashion focused than the US and France.”
Former New Look chief executive Stephen Sunnucks joined Gap as European president in April last year to oversee the development of the retailer’s business in the UK and France. Since then, Barbara Cook has been appointed UK managing director to oversee the retail side of the business and Clare Dobbie has joined as vice president of marketing. The company is also looking for an overall design director.3 May 2006
Middle East franchise for Gap
US clothing retailer Gap has agreed to a second franchise deal covering give Arab Gulf states. Together with Dubai-based partner Al Tayer the retailer will open up to 35 Gap and Banana Republic stores in the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman by 2010. The first Gap stores are set to open later this year.
Earlier this year, Gap announced a franchise agreement to open stores in Singapore and Malaysia.
Joshua Schulman, head of the company's international business alliances, said that the company felt that franchising represents a “significant opportunity” to grow Gap brands on an international level.
Al Tayer operates luxury brand franchises in the UAE, including Harvey Nichols.
International sales at Gap represented 9 percent of the retailers total 2005 sales of $16 billion.
18 April 2006
Gap sues graduate
High street clothing giant Gap has launched a £300,000 legal action against a graduate whose tiny business organises trips to developing countries for people taking gap years. James Burton, 26, set up Gap Sports and Gap Sports Abroad with his younger brother David in 2004. But Gap claims the companies infringe its trademarks, according to a High Court writ. It is also demanding that James Burton hands over other domain names he has registered that also feature the word ‘gap'. The American clothing chain puts the value of its claim at more than £300,000.9 April 2006
Gap struggles through March
US retailer Gap has reported a drop of 13 percent in same-store sales for March. The company said that it expected the first half of this financial year to continue to be tough and same-store sales to be negative. Net sales for the five weeks ended 1 April fell 9 percent to $1.35 billion (£771 million). Same-store sales fell 4 percent in the same period last year. Same-store sales of Gap North America dropped 13 percent, compared a 1 percent slip last year. Meanwhile, Banana Republic North America sales fell 7 percent compared with a 1 percent fall the year before, and Old Navy North America sales fell15 percent compared with 9 percent last year. Gap International sales fell 16 percent compared with a 1 percent rise last year.
“Our March performance reflects the challenges we face to increase the frequency of customer visits to our stores,” said Sabrina Simmons, senior vice president, treasury and investor relations. “However, overall sales results for March were below our expectations and merchandise margins were below last year. Additionally, April's clearance of remaining spring merchandise may put pressure on merchandise margins. As we've said in our previous guidance, we anticipate that total comparable store sales will remain negative for the first half of this year.” Net sales for the nine weeks ended 1 April fell 8 percent to $2.21 billion, while year-to-date same-store sales dropped 12 percent.
7 April 2006
Forth & Towne in growth spurt
Forth & Towne will be expanding into new US markets. The fashion concept for women over 35 was launched by Gap Inc last year and the group said that there are plans to open 10 Forth & Towne stores in five new US cities: Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco/San Jose and Seattle. “These new markets represent a high concentration of where our customers reside,” Forth & Towne president Gary Muto told WWD. “We've been pleased with the reaction so far. We're relatively new, and we believe we have something innovative.”
With the opening of these new stores, there will be 15 Forth & Towne stores throughout the US. The first opened last August in Nyack, NY. The new concept was initially plagued by declining sales and predominantly negative customer reviews. Many referred to the selection as a variation on the Gap brand and complained that too much attention had been paid to the appearance and architecture of the stores and less to the clothing range itself. The group advertised the store as a shopping experience, with style consultants at hand to advise and assist customers in assembling complete outfits.
The brand's executive vice president of design and product development, Austyn Zung, said that Forth & Towne was called to life to fill a gap. “A team of people here realized that there was such a lack of stylish clothes for more grown-up women at this price point,” he told WWD. “At the collection level of design, they seem to do it really well – they realize that the money is in this more grown-up age group. But at the mass level, no one is doing a really good job of bringing well-designed fashion to this group of women.”
Prices at Forth & Towne lay between those at Gap and Banana Republic, ranging from $50 (£29) to $200. With sizes varying from 2 to 20, Zung says the brand is filling a need that was not being met before. Forth & Towne stores carry four labels that were developed specifically for the concept. Zung categorizes the Allegory brand as “tailored femininity”, Vocabulary as “eclectic style, with embellishment and embroidery”, Gap Edition as “fresh, casual -American style for a more grown-up woman, and Prize as “trend-conscious”.
Gap Inc operates 3,000 stores worldwide under the brands Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and, most recently, Forth & Towne. Group sales were $16 billion in 2005, a decline from $16.3 billion in 2004.
24 March 2006
Gap sales slump continues
US retail giant Gap said on Thursday that its sales slump would continue into the first half of this year, despite efforts to revive spring collections. Footfall in its stores had dropped 13 percent so far in February, and the group expects only a “modestly positive” sales turn in the second half of 2006. Group chief executive Paul Pressler said the company still believed that the changes made would win over customers eventually. “We believe that by making product improvements each season, our traffic will follow,” he said, adding that it would take time to see results.
During the fourth quarter, the company's sales dropped 2 percent to $4.9 billion (£2.8 billion). Overall sales at the Gap and Old Navy brands in the US remained unchanged. International store sales fell $20 million to $439 million. Earnings for the quarter dropped to $337 million from $378 million during the same period the year before.
Pressler said that “none of us is satisfied with our overall 2005 business results…we pursued new approaches but did not deliver on expectations.” Last year, the company hired a new designer for the Gap brand and appointed new executives to head up its children's clothing, maternity and Gap Body units. The group did reveal that online sales had increased 20 percent during the fourth quarter as a result of the redesign of its three brand websites.
24 February 2006
Gap International president quits
US fashion retailer Gap Inc has announced that Andrew Rolfe, president of its International division, has decided to quit the company, effective this week. “Now that we have built a strong, more decentralized International organization, Andrew feels it's the appropriate time for him to take on new challenges,” said Paul Pressler, president and chief executive of Gap Inc. “I want to thank Andrew for his many contributions.”
The International division has successfully managed to shift key business functions such as marketing and merchandising into local markets. It also launched Banana Republic in Japan and established an international franchise business. Rolfe will assume a senior position with private equity firm TowerBrook Capital Partners. Meanwhile, his position will not be filled at Gap. European and Japanese business units will now report directly to Pressler.
13 February 2006
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