Stop Gap

Lucinda Rosenfeld explores what happened to The Gap for Slate:

These days, I never think of walking into a Gap. And neither, it seems, does anyone else. Last year, profits at North American Gap stores fell 10 percent, while the share price of Gap Inc.—which includes Banana Republic and Old Navy—fell 16.5 percent. Once synonymous with the very category of mid- to high-end chain stores it helped to invent, the Gap is now in serious trouble. What changed? Was it the Gap, or was it us?

Rosenfeld posits that the brand is still aligned in the public imagination with the back-to-basic ethos of the ’90s. Which is to say, T-shirts and jeans. “As such, it can’t begin to compete with the knock-off meccas (H&M, Zara, Club Monaco, etc.) that have become popular in the froufrou-mad ’00s.”

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. The Gap failed to change with the times, and we outgrew them. I like her suggestion of re-tooling to fit with their original core market, those of us in the 35-ish age range who, incidentally, are having our first kids. Who can walk past a Baby Gap without uttering a loud “Awwwww, how cute!”? And the Gap has great maternity clothes- my first Gap purchase in years are the only maternity shirts that fit me, in my ninth month.