A freelance journalist has caught the GAP using child labor to produce hand embroidered clothing for its GAP Kids line. The children, who are as young as 10, are quoted as saying they were sold to the factory by their families and cannot leave until their debt is paid. A video of the factory’s squalid conditions shows GAP Kids labels on the clothing.
Mike Antonucci at the San Jose Mercury News took your complaints to the Gap’s top brass and got some interesting responses. They even responded to our editorializing about the Gap’s general state of failure with some upbeat sentences touting their own profitability. Whoops! We guess we were wrong and everything is just fine. Wait, what about the three-year sales slump, the recent layoffs, and the fact that same-store sales (the most important indicator of the health of a retail operation) have fallen in 12 consecutive quarters. Teehee! Sorry, we were sooo mean!
A while back we asked the readers to tell us what was wrong with Gap, INC. Since we asked, they’ve sh*tcanned their CEO, closed a chain of stores, launched new ad campaigns featuring celebrities, rethought their merchandise and…nothing has has helped.
There’s some weirdness going on with Banana Republic’s store credit card website. Reader Bernard wrote us to say that a Banana Republic CSR told him that every 3-4 months Banana Republic’s credit card site would be “updated” and that everyone would have to re-register—including signing up for a new user name. Is this the case of an incompetent CSR, or is there something strange going on with Banana Republic’s credit card site? Has anyone else had trouble with it? Read Bernard’s email inside.
Pressler’s penny-pinching may have turned off the Gap’s core customers. Sweaters that were once 100% cotton or wool, for example, showed up in stores as acrylic blends, and people noticed. Banana Republic tried to woo the same high-end consumers as J. Crew but didn’t go far enough in offering luxury fabrics, like cashmere, that those shoppers wanted. In 2005, while department stores couldn’t sell enough $100-plus premium jeans, the Gap skipped denim and tried to push khakis. “Pressler went too far in focusing on costs at the expense of merchandising,” says Christine Chen, senior research analyst at Pacific Growth Equities. “Sometimes you just need to go with your gut and do what makes sense to get customers in the door.”
The article also mentions the way in which stores like H&M refresh their looks faster, drawing in and keeping customers in their 20s and 30s. By the time a look hits the GAP, it’s already over, and possibly expensive for the store and unflattering for the customer (skinny jeans?)—MEGHANN MARCO
Dog-like sycophants that we are, we love loyalty. Especially when people are more loyal to The Consumerist than the organization that helps them have a roof over their hands. A little bird tweets into our ear about the sugar daddy who pays his bills, Gap, Inc. Looks like they had a lot of whacky doodle malarkey going on with their online shopping system this week. Looks like we got a new stoolie as well.