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.”