The Gap Is Shrinking!

Gap’s CEO Glenn Murphy said Tuesday says he plans to close some stores and shrink others in an effort to turn things around at the slumping retailer.

“We got carried away,” Murphy said. “All of a sudden you have larger stores than you need. We also have a store fleet that’s older than we’d like it to be.”

The company will eliminate Baby Gap and Gap Kids stores and incorporate them into their adult stores, according to CNNMoney.

Will this fix the Gap? Is less really more?

Gap CEO Announces Plan To Shrink Store Size [CNNMoney]
(Photo: bopo )

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. ryan_h says:

    Gap, well, hmm. that place will have like, one item a year that I like. pass!

  2. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    You know what would really turn things around for the Gap? If they stopped selling Gap clothes.

  3. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    Gap sucks.

  4. spinachdip says:

    “The company will eliminate Baby Gap and Gap Kids stores and incorporate them into their adult stores”

    Without looking at their quarterly reports, it seems like kids and baby aparrel should be healthier than the adult market, considering that kids’ clothing is often bought as gifts, the product life is shorter, and there are fewer competitors.

  5. Read in today’s local paper that Goody’s is shuttering a bunch of stores as well.

    Current trend in retailing.

  6. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    Too little too late. I don’t think Gap can survive. Maybe if their clothes weren’t paper-thin and didn’t destroy themselves when washed only 2-3 times. At least when I go to Old Navy, I know I’m paying cheap prices for cheap clothes. Gap is just an expensive Old Navy at this point.

  7. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: FWIW, Gap used to have better quality clothes. I have 5+ year old Gap shirts in better shape than some I bought there within the past year.

  8. petrarch1608 says:

    Jin, you’re alive!

  9. jst07 says:

    Well if their clothes didn’t suck maybe they’d sell. I bought 2 pairs of pants and 2 pairs of boxers there and all but one of the pairs of boxers ripped out within a month. For being $30-$40 pants, I wasnt impressed.

  10. rolla says:

    yeah, Gap’s appeal to me ended when i graduated college. Their styles are too cookie cutter and they have been basically selling the same shit over and over again just different year.

  11. VikingP77 says:

    The Gap sucks!

  12. Life_Sandwich says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!:
    Agreed about your second post. I have boxer shorts -boxer shorts- that were bought for me there sometime in the mid 1990′s that have only gotten better with age. I turned my back on them when I took my Gap jeans out of the wash to find “bleach spots” that nothing else in a load of blues and blacks had on them.

  13. ARP says:

    Yep- the Gap seems to be lost. They’re too expensive to be a “disposable” clothing store like H&M or O-N, but don’t have the quality or size consistency of comparable brands. They’re also somewhere between trendy and basics and that’s actually a negative (who wants “sort-of” trendy?).

    FWIW, I like their Banana Republic stuff. The quality is good (and consistent) and it fits well.

  14. Crabby Cakes says:

    My mom runs a GapBody. They recently had a HUGE restructring of management in their district. We’ve been wondering when an announcement like this was going to come.

  15. RocketRockit says:

    I worked at my neighborhood Gap for two years in college. Disaster. It’s still the best place to get basic pants and jeans, but NOTHING else. Even their sundresses for this summer somehow manage to be heinous, unflattering, boring, schoolmarmish, and slutty — all at the same time.

  16. octoSink says:

    Is that Jin from Lost? I hope he’s not dead.

  17. spinachdip says:

    @ARP: Yeah, it seems like they stuck themselves in a no man’s land, with the flagship brand sandwiched between Old Navy and Banana Republic, which, like them or not, are very effective at serving their targets. I don’t think it helps that Old Navy’s eschewing the “look how cheap we are!” approach and skewing younger/stylisher.

  18. quirkyrachel says:

    So wait. They’re not going to try improving their clothing selection instead?

  19. ptkdude says:

    Oh no!! I hope they don’t close any of the 3 Gaps at the mall near me!

  20. Imaginary_Friend says:

    Gap should just join forces with Macy’s and go down together in flames. Gapy’s!

    Both companies were run to the ground by arrogant CEOs and clueless upper management.

  21. S3CT says:

    The gap by me has great sales. I bought a pair of jeans for 20 bucks and a nice dress shirt for 10 bucks. They’re cheap clothes and when they’re on sale they’re reasonably priced. Still look better than the crap at walmart.

  22. gqcarrick says:

    I never buy from the gap, old navy though I do buy from frequently and they are all the same company.

  23. Bladefist says:

    @octoSink: Cant be, Jin blew up. And with todays market, you cant be spending money on dummies. you really have to blow the actors up.

  24. bohemian says:

    We have a Gap, Gap Kids and Gap Baby that practically take up an entire side of a wing in our nearby mall. The last time I was at the mall on a busy Friday afternoon all three Gap stores were totally empty of people.

    They did have a plum skirt in the window I thought was kind of interesting until I realized that the hippie record store across town probably had one just like it for half the price and I look awful in hippie clothes.

  25. ARP says:

    @S3CT: That’s part of their problem. I know a lot of people like yourself (like me). We buy from Gap, but NEVER pay full price. I usually wait for pants/jeans to drop below $20 and shirts to drop below $15. They seem to always be putting their stuff on sale. Of course, that doesn’t help their margins at all.

    You’d think at some point they’d study the price point where they maximize sales and re-evaluate their price structure, especially when compared to O-N and B-R.

  26. DavidCopperballs says:

    I used to love the Gap. But about three years ago they it seemed like they downgraded both quality and style while at the same time raising prices. Their “sale” racks used to yield tremendous values, but last week I saw several pairs of $60 Khakis on the clearance rack for $45. That’s not clearance, not by a long shot.

    I now do most of my clothes shopping when there are sales at Macy’s/Lord and Taylor or just hit designer outlet stores and Marshall’s. The result is higher quality, better styles and lower prices.

  27. spinachdip says:

    @S3CT: Which leads me to my question – does anyone buy anything at the Gap at full price? That’s really a problem for the brand, isn’t it? Everything is unreasonably priced, and you know everything will go on sale sooner than later.

  28. spinachdip says:

    @ARP: I should hit refresh before posting.

  29. jjason82 says:

    There’s a few reasons I don’t shop at the gap anymore. One, for as long as I’ve gone there they always sell the same clothes. If I walk into my local Gap today and then go back in time and walk into it 10 years ago, everythings going to be relatively the same. They don’t seem to change or grow or evolve. Its always the exact same stuff, which is fine until you get tired of wearing it. Second, why should I pay double for the exact same stuff I can get at Old Navy? Gap is way overpriced. Who do they think they are, Abercrombie & Fitch?

    Interesting sidenote, I stopped shopping there because of the atmosphere. First (at least at mine) they have shirtless male models standing by the doors to welcome people. Then they have that stupid club music blaring insanely loud, then the way all the workers act and look at you. I feel like they’re subconsciously telling me that I’m not good enough to shop at their store and that I’m not welcome. Its a shame because as overpriced as they are, sometimes they have a few things that I really like. My absolute favorite scarf I ever bought was from A&F.

  30. skahead says:

    Do you think that they will incorporate hot topic?

  31. Invalid_User_Name says:

    Gap lost it when they decided to target a teen and 20-something demographic. I’m old enough to remember when they positioned themselves as offering “basics.” And the “basics” then turned trendy and to a too-young-to-afford-it demographic.

    Gap would be better served if they went back to their roots of truly offering basics and marketed them to those who can afford them.

  32. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Closing stores?

    But their practice of having tired-looking stores full of tired-looking, over-priced clothes and yacking salespeople who can’t stop talking to each other long enough to offer help has worked so well thus far.

    Old Navy is just as bad, just darker stores and cheaper, more ill-fitting clothing.

  33. jonworld says:

    I’ve heard that Gap is also planning to cut Old Navy. NO! I buy lots of my clothes at Old Navy cause everything is so damn cheap (low-priced, not low-quality) but it’s not like stooping down to the level of buying from Wal-Mart or Target.

    But then again, I hardly shop for clothes (and dread doing so) so I don’t think this will effect me a whole lot.

  34. jonworld says:

    @ARP: By the way, ARP, Old Navy and Banana Republic are both owned by Gap. You knew that, right?

  35. spinachdip says:

    @jonworld: I thought that was implied in the comment, as in the Gap is cannibalizing its sub-brands at both ends of the price structure.

  36. Hey Gap, here’s an idea – make jeans that aren’t cut to fit a 12 year old girl’s hips.

    Extra Low Cut? For guys? WTF? Really, WTF?

  37. littlemoose says:

    @jonworld: I highly doubt that Gap would divest itself of Old Navy. Old Navy is usually more profitable than the Gap division.

    In the last few years, many commentators have speculated that Gap lost many of its core shoppers — some to Old Navy, some to Banana Republic — and was essentially cannibalizing itself. Gap has been trying to figure out how to reposition its brand without cutting into the healthier Old Navy and Banana Republic customer bases.

    That said, I do have a lot of Gap clothes — I find they fit better than Old Navy, and I’ve rarely had quality problems.

  38. Wreckoner says:

    Is that….Jin?

  39. Lambasted says:

    I love me some Gap jeans. When I want a new pair of jeans I always go to The Gap. They are the best fitting jeans I own. Some jeans I bought over 8 years and they are still just fine. I am definitely not an Old Navy fan.

  40. ianmac47 says:

    Mmm, that would less helpful than selling clothing that people actually want.

  41. intheq says:

    it astounds me that no commenter so far has mentioned gap’s horrific policy of having clothes made for pennies in malaysia/el salvador/india. while many companies do this, it doesn’t make it acceptable. i truly believe the strong, intelligent women that read this site have a commitment to human rights that is stronger than a $15 t-shirt from the sale rack at the gap.

    companies like these really have no place in today’s social climate. check out http://www.corpwatch.org and vote the only way that makes a difference: WITH YOUR WALLET.

  42. cupcake_kate says:

    I agree that Gap should go back to the basics and make clothes that fit people. So many of the jeans are too long even for normal people. Baby Gap and Gap Kids have the best clothes of the 3 but I guess those will be gone.

  43. jakesprincess says:

    I used to love the Holy Trilogy (as I called it). But now I find the Gap to be boring and not at all stylish or flattering, Old Navy is always trashed and their sizing is inconsistent, and Banana Republic’s price points are way too high. I have both a Gap and BR card (which I pay off in full) and like that I earn reward certificates and always get free shipping, but that is not even enough to get me to buy. The kids’ clothes at ON and Gap are overpriced—I can do better at Kohl’s. I will make one exception: I do love the BR Factory Stores, but there are none near me.

  44. ChuckECheese says:

    @jjason82:

    Interesting sidenote, I stopped shopping there because of the atmosphere. First (at least at mine) they have shirtless male models standing by the doors to welcome people. Then they have that stupid club music blaring insanely loud, then the way all the workers act and look at you.

    I think you accidentally walked into a gay bar, not the Gap.

  45. NinaGeryon says:

    Like some, I still have some, what was labeled at the time “Gap
    Premium” clothes that are still in excellent condition. I still have a
    tie from their “Paper Boy” series. They used to be known for classic,
    timeless style that was mostly moderately priced. I remember when
    Banana Republic was was a rugged more outdoorsy focused brand. I wore
    my “ticking” shirt for 15 years before it wore out completely. There
    is now too much cross over in the Gap suite. Here is my 2 cents as my
    own corporate executive experience instinct tells me.

    1. Old Navy: Younger audience, more fluid and hip designs. Cost sensitive

    2. Gap: College and young professional. Classic stylings with a
    fashionable flavor. Put the upscale wear here too combined with
    Maternity and Body.

    3. Banana Republic: Either remove brand or go back to outdoor rugged
    and now “green” lifestyle wear.

    It just seems like Gap Inc. has become like a Ford Explorer, Mercury
    Mountaineer or Lincoln Aviator – same basic car different badge. Its
    the same reasons GMC killed off Oldsmobile. Differentiate the brands
    or suffer. It’s part of creating brand loyalty too. I could go on. I
    just hope they make it.

  46. frogman31680 says:

    The gap at the mall where i work is closing. But so is every other store in our mall because a new shopping center in the area is attracting more business.

    Or so I thought.

  47. S3CT says:

    @cupcake_kate:

    I’m 6’3″ and the Gap actually makes clothes that fit me. Very few places do.

  48. drjayphd says:

    @intheq: Did this get crossposted on Jezebel? Guys read Consumerist too, ya know…

    And would it be an issue if the Gap farmed out their manufacturing to, oh… Cambodia?

  49. smallestmills says:

    @intheq:

    If an eight year old doesn’t go blind whilst making my clothes then I don’t want them. How else are you going to get that extra fine stitching? A machine can’t replicate what good old fashioned exploitation has mastered for years. Especially for the price.

  50. bopo says:

    Thanks for using the photo, Chicagoist.

    Yes, that’s Daniel Dae Kim/Jin.

  51. ZekeSulastin says:

    Too bad for the Gap – one of the few places where I could reliably find 30×36 khakis … many stores don’t even have them available for special order, and from my limited experience the “Big & Tall” don’t serve people who are just tall …

    Ah well, at least I don’t wear through khaki pants that quick.

  52. jjason82 says:

    @ChuckECheese: Sorry, I was speaking about Abercrombie and Fitch at that point. But yes, they do that, no joke.

  53. velvetjones says:

    I hated the Gap, Banana and Old Navy but I quickly changed my tune when I needed to start buying maternity clothes. Now the gap is the only place I can find cute and comfortable maternity clothes.

  54. Hey Glenn Murphy: Remember me? I wrote you about how I was so dissatisfied with that garment I purchased from the Gap? And you passed my complaint to your customer service, which incidentally you also give you no authority to resolve almost anything?

    And remember how I wrote you again, saying that your customer service was giving me the runaround? And how you promptly passed my letter back to the same customer service people who still didn’t have any authority to resolve the problem?

    Well guess what? We shop at Steve and Barry’s now, where they bend over backwards for the customer, have better quality products and ridiculously cheap prices!

    And guess what Glenn? You’re closing a bunch of stores and your company is still slumping and you still don’t get why your customers are important.

    Gap, let me give you some advice when you look for your next CEO. Any CEO who has no interest in hearing from his customers isn’t worth diddly and has his or her priorities completely out of whack.

  55. toddiot says:

    @ChuckECheese: Except jjason82 was talking about Abercrombie and Fitch. For some reason.

  56. DallasPath says:

    Sadly, GapKids actually has reasonably priced school uniforms that hold up extremely well despite the best efforts of my 5 and 8 year old boys. They manage to put a hole in at least one knee within a week in just about every other brand, but it takes them over a month on the Gap pants.

    Really, their kids line is what they should focus on. Their adult clothing and stores are a complete lost cause.

  57. quail says:

    @Corporate-Shill: Goody’s could use some of their stores to close. Anytime I travel and see one it’s always in the least desirable retail location.

    As for the GAP, it’s one of those stories where you shake your head. They were on top of the retail world for a long while after they shook off their late 70′s hideousness. They made money like crazy. But now, their clothing doesn’t interest me.

  58. paco says:

    Basics and kids’ stuff. That’s where they need to focus. Seriously.

  59. The_AntiVirus says:

    I never shopped at the gap but something told me to stay away from it. I never really liked places like old navy, hot topic, etc…I dunno why.

    I always wondered why people hated the gap and now I know.

  60. @jjason82: Dude, actual shirtless male models greeting people at your Gap?? Is this like their flagship store or something? I would have assumed you meant pictures of them or something, but your wording sounds like actual shirtless dudes! That’s pretty impressive for the Gap!

  61. @toddiot: OHHHH. after re-reading it, it becomes clear. Still–Shirtless models in a mall store? Wtf.

  62. thewriteguy says:

    GAP feels to me like a relic of the 1990s that ran on fumes through this decade. I could see GAP, Inc. shuttering the GAP stores and focusing on Old Navy and their other chains in the next decade.

  63. strawberryjam says:

    Baby GAP is the only children’s store that I go into and can’t hold back. I find myself paying three times more for a GAP bodysuit than I would at TJMaxx or Ross.

    Everything’s just so…cute. I want to have a baby just to put her in Baby GAP clothes!

    It’s quite sickening.

    On the other hand, I’ve never had a quality issue with GAP clothing. Quite a bit of my wardrobe is filled with the GAP, Bitten and H&M. I’ve never had quality issues with those brands either.

  64. wildness says:

    That explains what happened to all of those snappy Gap Christmas ads – they can’t afford them anymore while (not) selling thread-bare clothing.

  65. Leah says:

    oh, man, that sucks — I love gap clothes. Then again, I buy mine at the thrift store. But their jeans are superb and fit so nicely. If they do go out of business, I might just have to go to the mall and pay real prices to stock up on some jeans.

    Back in high school (almost a decade ago now), I wore gap clothes almost exclusively. I remember the quality being really high and the clothes being awesome. That somehow changed as I moved into the later years of college. But I still own lots of gap stuff.

  66. lauraloops says:

    i’ll be the lone dissenter, but I really like Gap. All of my jeans and pants are from there; they fit well, are relatively well-priced, and they don’t fall apart. I’m disappointed that they closed two stores near me, because I shop there a lot.

  67. theblackdog says:

    As long as they don’t start closing a ton of Old Navy stores as well. I have very nice polo shirts for work thanks to them, and they are still going strong after a year.

  68. ajmccoll says:

    @littlemoose: After working at an Old Navy store for over two years, I can tell you that that is indeed false.

    Old Navy’s business has gone into the crapper. The company tried to change its image the same year I started working there, and in doing so it turned people away. They wanted to go more “hip and trendy” while still offering the basics. The basics still sold (especially the 2fors), but the hip and trendy stuff just sat on the shelf until it went clearance. I was in charge of clearance at my store, and even when the items were $6.97 we practically had to PAY people to buy it.

    I do not see the store I worked at lasting until the end of the year, and Gap Inc. has said that they are closing numerous stores across the country. I don’t think it helped the company at all when they decided they were going to transform their (some of/all?) outlet stores into regular Old Navy stores.

  69. Anonymous says:

    it make no difference seeing as they are slow turning Old Navy into the GAP

  70. shame on gap for trying to capitalize on a celebrity’s recent death

  71. milk says:

    @dgp: The A&F in one of our malls is really scary. I rarely go to the mall, and I’ve never actually seen an A&F store. The facade is painted black, windows are covered in mostly closed black shutters, mine only has two floor to ceiling murals of topless male models, and there is ridiculously loud club music playing. You’re greeted with a wall at the entrance and have to go left or right, so you can’t even see inside from the mall. It really is a gay club. Ugh, and the smells coming out of that place…

  72. taffy says:

    I have a friend who is a manager at Baby Gap so I’m feeling sorry for all the people who are going to lose their jobs.

  73. thwarted says:

    @intheq: That’s a big reason why i stopped shopping there. Gap really needs to get with the times; if they stopped using sweatshop labor and started trying to reduce their environmental impact, hell yeah I’d shop there. Until then…not so much.

  74. MFfan310 says:

    Well, it turns out that the Gap/GapKids at the mall near me is one of those “too big” stores, at nearly 10,000 square feet, which is in line with that “4,000 square feet too much” estimate that the CEO said. Never mind that’s in a high-traffic mall corridor… it’s still too darn big!

    My bet: They will relocate to a 5,000-or-so square-foot space in the same mall (as they closed their other store here in town)… either that, or chop up the space and have General Growth re-lease it to another hot retailer like Sephora, Apple, or the like.

  75. onesong says:

    i think the gap is a perfect metaphor for the way the middle class is being squeezed out of existence.
    ahem. also, for chrissake, old navy and the gap have the same quality clothes these days. gap needs to go back to good fabrics and simple cuts and a great selection of jeans and khakis. leave the fancy sh*t to banana and the trendy sh*t to old navy. hopefully the shrink is indicative of this.

  76. onesong says:

    @me and the sysop: i think that’s a hollister. the shutters gave it away. is there a tiki style awning?

  77. kimshot says:

    @ARP: It’s sad, but even the Banana Republic quality has decreased. They’ve raised the prices on nearly everything (albeit only $1 for most items) and stopped lining most of their pants. While they used to always offer things like casual cotton pants and khakis without a lining, they always used to line the dress pants and linen items, and of course, all white pants, even if they were casual. Now, all but the basic black Martin/Jackson suit pants/skirts are missing a lining. That means the itchy wool pants, the linen, and the white pants and skirts have no lining. I refuse to pay $129 for a pair of pants that have no lining. I understand this is Br’s way of cutting costs, but don’t they think customers are going to notice that they’re being asked to pay the same amount for a lower quality product? Who wants to wear white linen pants without a lining?!

  78. wishing upon says:

    I was wondering why the Gap Kids turned into a Gap Outlet at the local mall…

    And for the record, I actually really enjoy Gap / Old Navy clothes. They probably constitute almost half of my wardrobe.

  79. DrGirlfriend says:

    I’m not surprised…they went from being a staple in my closet for years, to suddenly being a place to avoid. Their clothes used to be mostly basics, but attractive and of reasonable quality for the price. Now they are the most boring, shoddy looking rags. Even their jeans, an old favorite for me, are cut very strangely.

    Just a few months ago I walked in, and the first thing I saw right on front of the doors were 3 mannequins dressed entirely in black. They were staggered as if they were walking one behind the other, and it looked like a mannequin funeral procession. They must have been honoring a fallen comrade.