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Gap Considers Cutting Stores to Focus on E-Commerce

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

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Fast Company profiles Gap's new CEO Art Peck to find out exactly how he's going to make the brand relevant again. It involves what Peck is calling Retail 3.0, pushing the company's e-commerce, mobile, and omnichannel capabilities. It might mean closing stores. In the article, Peck says that Gap's 3,680 stores will "inevitably" shrink in size and number. "He plans to make mobile the central point of all customer interactions—though he’s not exactly sure how," Fast Company's Danielle Sacks writes.

Also crucial to competing with fast fashion is reducing the time it takes for Gap products to go from design process into stores. Right now it takes 10 months, which is about three times as long as competitors Zara and H&M. Peck wants to cut the production time to about 30 weeks. He's also testing out ideas like new showroom formats, mobile registers, digital wall displays, RFID–tagged clothing, and maybe even a Gap vending machine.

There's a hint as to why Gap is moving on without Rebekka Bay, the brand's former creative director whose role was eliminated in January. It seems that Peck was not a huge fan of Bay's minimalist, boxy aesthetic. Sacks writes of Bay's tenure:

One of her more daring touches this past season was reviving Gap’s "Crazy Stripe" sweater from the mid-2000s, which boasts a rainbow’s worth of colors. While not referring specifically to that sweater, Peck commented to his staff: "It’s a sign of the times, unfortunately, that when there was an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party at the company, some of the sweaters there were from our current assortment. That’s not the way it should be." By late January, Bay was out.