Gap hasn't had an easy time of it, and not just because of last month's death of founder Don Fisher, who opened the first Gap store in 1969. The clothing retailer, which owns Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy, has suffered through years of declining sales and several executive changes. Only Old Navy, Gap's value-priced brand, has seen a sales increase this year.
Still the leading U.S. clothing chain, Gap has been accused of missing the mark when it comes to keeping up with contemporary fashion trends. Even Banana Republic, Gap's upscale brand, is now regarded by company officials as being "too serious" and "too heavily work-focused," MarketWatch reports.
Gap has always seen benefits from globalization. It was opening stores in Europe as early as the 1980s. The chain currently has over 3,000 stores in the the U.S. and Canada, as well as in the UK, France, and Japan. But, says The Times of London:
...the company has been cutting costs and streamlining stores over the past two years. A recent high profile campaign at Gap, which was focused around the launch of a premium jeans line, fell flat.
Don't count Gap out quite yet. Next month, the company will revive its television advertising in the U.S. for the first time in two years, and MarketWatch reports, it will expand outlets overseas, including China for the first time, and begin online sales in Canada and the UK.
Will it be turnaround time for Gap -- or will the latest strategy be Gap's last gasp?