The Gap, Inc.,
commonly known as Gap Inc. or Gap, is an American multinational
clothing and accessories retailer. It was founded in 1969 by Donald
G. Fisher and Doris
F. Fisher and is headquartered in San
The company operates five primary divisions: the namesake banner, Banana
and Athleta. Gap Inc. was surpassed by Spanish-based Inditex
Group as the world's largest apparel retailer, based on the total numbers
of international locations,
however it remains the largest specialty retailer in the United States. As
of September 2008, the company has approximately 135,000 employees and
operates 3,076 stores worldwide, of which 2,551 are located in the U.S.
The Fisher family remains
deeply involved in the company, collectively owning much of its stock.
Fisher served as Chairman
of the Board until 2004, playing a role in the ouster of then-CEO Millard
Drexler in 2002, and remained on the board until his death on
September 27, 2009. Fisher's wife and their son, Robert
J. Fisher, also serve on Gap's board of directors. Robert succeeded
his father as chairman in 2004 and also served as CEO
on an interim basis following the resignation of Paul
Pressler in 2007, before being succeeded permanently by Glenn K.
Donald and Doris
Fisher opened the first Gap store on Ocean Avenue in San
Francisco on August 21, 1969; its merchandise consisted of Levi's
records. They had raised $63,000 to open the store,
and reached $2 million in sales in the first year of operation. In
1970, Gap opened its second store in San
Jose, California and established its corporate headquarters in
California with four employees. By 1973, the company had over
25 locations and had expanded into the East Coast market with a
store in the Echelon
Mall in Voorhees,
New Jersey. In 1974, Gap began to sell private-label
In the 1990s, Gap
assumed an upscale identity and revamped its inventory under the
direction of Millard
However, Drexler was removed from his position in 2002 after
over-expansion, a 29-month slump in sales, and tensions with the
Fisher family. Drexler refused to sign a non-compete agreement and
eventually became CEO of J.
Crew. One month after his departure, merchandise that he had
ordered was responsible for a strong rebound in sales.
J. Fisher recruited Paul
Pressler as the new CEO; he was credited with closing
under-performing locations and paying off debt. However, his focus
groups failed to recover the company's leadership in its market.
In 2007, Gap
announced that it would "focus [its] efforts on recruiting a
chief executive officer who has deep retailing and merchandising
experience ideally in apparel, understands the creative process
and can effectively execute strategies in large, complex
environments while maintaining strong financial discipline."
That January, Pressler resigned after two disappointing holiday
sales seasons and was succeeded by Robert J. Fisher on an interim
He began working with the company in 1980 and joined the board in
1990, and would later assume several senior executive positions,
including president of Banana Republic and the Gap units.
The board's search committee was led by Adrian Bellamy, chairman
Body Shop International and included founder Donald Fisher. On
February 2, Marka Hansen, the former head of the Banana Republic
division, replaced Cynthia
Harriss as the leader of the Gap division. The executive
president for marketing and merchandising Jack Calhoun became
interim president of Banana Republic.
In May, Old Navy laid off approximately 300 managers in lower
volume locations to help streamline costs. That July, Glenn
Murphy, previously CEO of Shoppers
Drug Mart in Canada, was announced as the new CEO of Gap, Inc.
New lead designers were also brought on board to help define a
fashionable image, including Patrick
Robinson for Gap Adult, Simon Kneen for Banana Republic, and Todd
Oldham for Old Navy. Robinson was hired as chief designer in
2007, but was dismissed in May 2011 after sales failed to
increase. However, he enjoyed commercial success in international
In October 2011,
Gap Inc. announced plans to close 189 US stores, nearly 21
percent, by the end of 2013; however, it also plans to expand its
presence in China.
The company announced it would open its first stores in Brazil
in the Fall of 2013.
identity - Logo
Gap Inc. owns a
trademark to its name, "Gap". The Gap's original
trademark was a service
mark for retail clothing store services. The
application was filed with the United
States Patent and Trademark Office on February 29, 1972 by The
Gap Stores; registration was granted on October 10, 1972. The
first use of the trademark was on August 23, 1969, and expanded to
commercial usage on October 17, 1969. A second application was
filed by Gap Stores, Inc. on September 12, 1974, this time for a trademark
filed for Shirts.
The first usage for shirts and clothing products was on June 25,
1974. Trademark registration was granted on December 28, 1976.
Both the service mark and trademark are registered and owned by
Gap (Apparel), LLC of San Francisco, California.
On October 6, 2010,
in an effort to establish a contemporary presence, Gap introduced
a new logo. It was designed with the Helvetica
font and reduced the prominence of the brand's iconic blue box.
After much public outcry, the company reverted to its previous
"blue box" logo on October 12, after less than a week in
Marka Hansen, the executive who oversaw the logo change, resigned
February 1, 2011.
Republic, a small safari-themed clothing retailer, was purchased by
Gap in 1983 and was rebranded as an upscale clothing retailer in the late
Navy was launched in 1994 as a value chain with a specialty flair. Forth
& Towne, the company's fourth traditional retail concept, was
launched on August 24, 2005, featuring apparel targeted toward women 35
years and older.
On February 26, 2007, after an 18-month trial period, it was discontinued,
and the 19 stores were closed.
A fifth brand, the online clothing and accessories retailer Piperlime,
was created in 2006.
A sixth brand, Athleta, a women's athletic wear line, was added in 2009.
Gap's Sales by Division in Q1 2009
Republic North America
Navy North America
originally targeted the younger generation when it opened, with
its name referring to the generation
gap of the time.
It originally sold everything that Levi Strauss & Co made in
every style, size, and, color, and organized the stock by size.
The Gap was the first of many shops that carried only Levi's,
which led to a worldwide shortage of Indigo denim.[citation
needed] The Gap eventually started making their own
jeans and selling them at the expense of jeans from Levi's.
Gap's current marketing works to appeal to a broad demographic of
customers, whereas Banana
Republic presents a sophisticated image and Old
Navy focuses "fun, fashion, and value" for families
and younger customers. While the company has been criticized for
blandness and uniformity in its selling environments, it maintains
that it tailors its stores "to appeal to unique markets"
by developing multiple formats and designs.
The domain www.gap.com attracts over 18 million visitors
annually, according to a 2008 Compete.com
location in Westfield
Valley Fair, San
affairs - International
Gap operates stores in the
United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Ireland,
Korea, Japan and China; it also has franchise agreements with unaffiliated
franchisees to operate Gap or Banana Republic stores in Philippines,
Arab Emirates, Korea, Kuwait,
As of February 3, 2007, Gap Inc. operates 3,131 locations.
In January 2008, Gap signed a deal with Marinopoulos Group to open Gap and
Banana Republic stores in Greece, Romania,
In February 2009, Elbit Imaging, Ltd. secured a franchise to open and
operate Gap and Banana Republic stores in Israel.
In August 2010, the company opened its first store in Melbourne,
needed] In September 2011, Komax opened the first Gap store
in Chile, due to a franchise.
In October 2011, the first GAP store opened in Warsaw,
In 2003, a class
action lawsuit against Gap and 21 other companies alleged that sweatshop
workers in Saipan
were not paid for overtime work, were subjected to forced abortion,
and were required to work in unsafe working conditions.
of 20 million dollars was reached whereby The Gap did not admit liability.
In 2007, Ethisphere
Magazine chose Gap from among thousands of companies evaluated as one
of 100 "World’s Most Ethical Companies."
In May 2006, adult and child employees of Western, a supplier in Jordan,
were found to have worked up to 109 hours per week and to have gone six
months without being paid. Some employees claimed they had been raped by
Most of these allegations were directed at Wal-Mart (who mostly ignored
the claims), while Gap immediately looked into the matter to remedy the
On October 28, 2007, BBC
footage showed child
labor in Indian Gap factories.
The company denied knowledge of the happenings; it subsequently removed
and destroyed the single piece of clothing in question, a smock blouse,
from a British store. Gap promised to investigate breaches in its ethical
international labor groups in 2011 put forth a detailed safety proposal
which entailed the establishment of independent inspections of garment
factories. The plan called for inspectors to have the power to close
unsafe factories. The proposal entailed a legally binding contract between
suppliers, customers and unions. At a meeting in 2011 in Dhaka,
major European and North American retailers, including Gap, rejected the
proposal. Further efforts by unions to advance the proposal after numerous
and deadly factory fires have been rejected.
After the 2013
Savar building collapse, Kohl's became a founding member of the Alliance
for Bangladesh Worker Safety.
In 2006, Gap took part in
Red campaign with the launch of a special RED collection, including a
T-shirt manufactured in Lesotho
from African cotton. The expanded Gap Product Red collection was released
on October 13, 2006. 50 to 100 percent of the profits went to the Global
Fund, depending on the item. The company continued the products into
2007, especially in the lead up to Valentine's Day, using slogans such as
"Admi(RED)" and "Desi(RED)." Product Red has
contributed over $45 million to the Global Fund, more than any other
private donation received to date. Other launch partners included American
Armani and Motorola.
- Chairman of the
Board of Directors:
- Chief Executive
Officer: Glenn K. Murphy
Banana Republic Brand: Jack Calhoun
Japan: John Ermatinger
- President, Gap
Brand: Art Peck
- President, Gap,
Inc. Direct: Toby Lenk
Europe: Stephen Sunnucks
- President, Gap,
Inc. Outlet Art Peck
- Executive Vice
President, Corporate Strategy and Business Development: Art
- Executive Vice
President and Chief Financial Officer: Sabrina Simmons
- Executive Vice
President and Chief Information Officer Tom Keiser
- Executive Vice
President, Human Resources and Corporate Communications: Eva
- Senior Vice
President, Gap International Sourcing: Stan Raggio
- Senior Vice
President & General Counsel: Michelle Banks
headquarters in San Francisco, California.
of February 2, 2013, Gap Inc. had 3,064 company-owned store
locations,. The company expected to open about 200 store locations
and to close about 125 store locations in 2011.
Stores in Canada, China, France, Italy, Ireland, Japan, UK, and US
(including Puerto Rico) are company-owned; those outside of these
countries are owned and operated by franchises.
On November 14, 2002, the
company made merchandise inventory and accounts adjustment.