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May 20, 2011

Fall in to the Gap.

I knew there had to be something brewing at the Gap. Everything always on sale, their silk pieces never selling. Some of the items cute, some just unworkable - say those ballet flats in the bag. I bought a pair and instantly regretted wearing them to work the next day. No structure, no style, and maybe the color was a little weird (lilac patent leather). Was it too over priced? Were the pieces unflattering and unwearable? Their Jeans, the only seemingly divine staple in the whole store, is their one redeeming quality. And that's what Gap was intended to be - an American frontier  for good ol' Made in the USA jeans. I think they could catch on to something here with kickass jeans, jean jackets, jean shirts, shorts - the epitome of a well dressed woman or man. It's all in the details and frankly we all know Gap has become sloppy. With J.Crew taking over their territory and Old Navy having such great brand awareness (you know those commercials are catchy: Barbe-cutie...) it was time the mid-range store took a hit. This quarter it took a hard one. To make matters worse, according to New York Magazine's The Cut the retail giant did not see it coming.

"Gap Inc. has had a rough month. The company's sales numbers are down, they've sacked their top designer, and Jon Caramanica likened their cargo shorts to a dog's chew toy. But the worst is still yet to come, reports Women's Wear Daily:
The San Francisco-based apparel retail giant warned Thursday that its bottom line in the second half will be “heavily impacted” by rising product costs as it pulled its full-year earnings guidance down more than 22 percent.
Owing to rising costs in fuel and materials (theskyrocketing price of cotton is one the culprits), Gap has slashed their earnings outlook to $1.40 to $1.50 a share, down from the $1.88 to $1.93 range provided in February. They didn't see this coming, apparently:
Gap chief financial officer, Sabrina Simmons, acknowledged a miscalculation on the company’s part. “We had made the assumption [in February] that our fall buys would be the most expensive, and that we’d get some easing in our holiday buys,” she said. “And it turns out we were just absolutely wrong on that assumption. Holiday got worse, and that costing came in much higher than we expected, and higher than fall.”
What's more, Gap will have to increase their retail prices to make up for lost ground, which will make customers cranky too. Luckily for them (sort of), they won't be the only store to do so: Lots of other retailers (Wal-Mart and Target, for example) are raising prices for similar reasons. Happy shopping, everyone!

I already think Gap has prices that do not match their quality. I'm likely to only buy something from their store if I find it for $6.99 on the sale rack. True story: I found an amazing wool cable knit sweater. The kind you saw all over the place this winter. Well it was on sale for $5.99, and then another 40% off. It was an online purchase that someone had returned to the store, and I'm pretty sure I wore it for a month straight (don't worry I washed it and frebreezed it).

It's sad to me that a store that I grew up in - Gap Kids - is suffering so horribly, but like Ann Taylor did couldn't they have hired an amazing new design team, gotten a celeb a'la Katie Holmes and welcomed a new era of moderately priced clothes for the modern woman?
summer cocktail. a hit of denim. a splash of color. a pinch of pattern. a touch of shine. mix well and finish with a twist.

Everything in this picture is kind of cute, but you could get cuter versions elsewhere. I recently got an amazingly flattering pair of cropped trousers from Gap, I love them. But let's look at those bloomers on the left. I don't know about you (I saw these on a blogger earlier this week), but they make the model look FUPA heavy.

I'm going to go with it and say the only good thing to come out of gap this season is the 1969 White Jeans Collection. Super flattering and on trend.

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