Gap Forms Oddball Partnerships to Boost Sales
July 20, 2015 at 3:11 pm

Gap is hooking up with some odd bedfellows these days. The struggling apparel chain is piloting co-branded makeup counters with online beauty subscription service Birchbox, and testing a free delivery service with Virgin Hotels Chicago so that guests can have Gap fashions delivered straight to their hotel room. The Gap’s new flirtation with the high-margin…

How Instagram is Killing Gap's Business
June 23, 2015 at 2:07 pm

Once-iconic American retailer Gap is in trouble. The brand was once so cool that Sharon Stone wore one of its turtlenecks to the Oscars. Today, the company is closing a quarter of its stores amid declining sales. Sales at the brand that once dominated mall retail have declined for 13 straight months, according to Hiroko…

Gap Plans to Shutter 175 Stores, Cut 250 Jobs
June 16, 2015 at 11:36 pm

Gap is planning to close 175 stores in North America. Of those, 140 will close this fiscal year, the company announced Monday evening. All of those affected will be regular Gap stores, rather than outlets or factory shops. An undisclosed number of European stores are also set to close. This will leave 800 Gap stores…

The New Force at Old Navy: 4 Loyalty Lessons From a Retail Revival
June 5, 2015 at 2:47 pm

Like a smattering of rhinestones on a pair of skinny jeans, Old Navy has emerged as the unexpected sparkle in Gap performance these days. And while the low-cost retailer’s turnaround story is rich in messaging about merchandising, it's equally stocked with lessons in loyalty marketing. Sales at Old Navy rose to $1.4 billion in the…

Gap Plans to Copy Old Navy's ‘Fast Fashion’ Strategy
May 26, 2015 at 3:28 pm

Ever since former H&M executive Stefan Larsson took over at Old Navy, the brand has been experimenting with shortening its supply chain and working on a quicker production schedule in order to churn out trendier clothes that are more appealing to its customers. Now, Gap has plans to adopt the same strategy.  

Staples Teams With Boston on Gender Wage Gap Effort
April 6, 2015

Staples is trying to increase its appeal to women by embarking on a new initiative with the city of Boston. The retailer has pledged to work with Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh to make Boston the best city in the country for working women by signing on to "100 percent Talent: The Boston Women's Compact," an effort to end the gender-based wage gap and advance women in the workforce. "Staples values all of its female associates and understands the important role gender equality plays in fostering an inclusive workplace," said Regis Mulot, Staples’ executive vice president of human resources.

J.Crew's Mickey Drexler Offers Mea Culpa on ‘Lousy Year’ in Women's Clothing
March 19, 2015

J.Crew failed at women's fashion last year, the company's chief executive admitted on Wednesday. CEO Mickey Drexler provided a candid assessment of what he described as a "lousy year" for J.Crew's women's business in a rare appearance on a conference call with analysts, after overall sales at the brand remained stagnant at around $621 million. "Fashion is guaranteed never to always be right," said Drexler, a veteran retail merchant famed for steering apparel giant Gap through its rise in the 1990s. "That's the only guarantee in my many years of doing this." 

Dollar General to Raise Employees’ Hours, Not Wages
March 17, 2015

Dollar General plans to spend more on labor this year. However, the company isn't planning to pay its workers more, following the likes of Wal-Mart and TJX Companies. Instead, it plans to offer workers at its 11,800 stores more hours. The market for quality customer service staff is getting competitive. Over the last year, retailers like Ikea, Gap and most recently Wal-Mart have increased wages in an effort to retain staff, improve customer service and cut down on training and recruiting. Dollar General hopes to entice good workers with a more full-time schedule, rather than higher wages.

Why Retailers Are Suddenly Desperate to Keep Their Least-Valuable Workers
March 9, 2015

If the ability to throw a 100-mile-per-hour fastball sits at one end of the human capital spectrum, stocking shelves and swiping barcodes is at the opposite. But the U.S. economy gets on quite nicely with just a few dozen ace pitchers, while it takes vast stadiums of cashiers — and no small amount of investment in human capital — to keep things humming. A modest bidding war has broken out among the retailers that hire from the bottom of the labor pool, buoyed in part by improving sales. 

Merchants and the Race for Mobile Payments
March 4, 2015

Streamlining the path to purchase and checkout process has been one of the key ways that e-tailers have been able to improve their customers’ online shopping experiences and drive conversions. Mobile consumers have come to expect the fastest, most seamless checkout experiences possible. They don't want to type their credit card numbers or shipping addresses into a small screen every time they shop a new site. They also never want to worry about the security of their data, which high-profile breaches at major retailers routinely call into question. New alternate payment options promise to accelerate this process, and merchants should take a hard look at implementing them for several reasons.