There’s a joke to be made here about falling out of the Gap instead of into it, as their 1973 slogan went, but my purpose today is a solemn one: to deliver the news that Gap Inc. will close 200 Banana Republic and Gap locations.
That’s not an insignificant number; CNN reports that there are around 2,000 locations around the world, so to shutter 200 is a hearty 10 percent. Athleta and Old Navy, the lower-end brands attached to Gap’s parent company, will be part of the brand’s expansion, which is exciting news for those who love athleisure and surprisingly nice sundresses. To keep up with the hot new trend you may have heard about called online shopping, Gap also said that they will invest in their online operations, including a foray into artificial intelligence technology.
Is this the chiming of retail’s death knell? I’d argue that part of the reason the Gap is failing while its scrubby siblings are thriving is because the clothing that the Gap makes is too expensive and not that cute for what it is. Over this past holiday weekend, I went into the Gap because the one closest to the train is usually never busy. Everything in the store was 50 percent off, making it feasible for me to consider buying a pair of jeans that actually fit in a way that I like. I tried on four pairs, rejected all of them and walked to the Old Navy down the street. They had my size and I paid only $24. They are good jeans and when the inner thigh eventually blows out from the unholy friction my legs create when I walk to and from the bathroom, I will replace them with another pair. I will not be buying khakis from anywhere, at any time.