The Gap division of Gap Inc. has a prototype in the works, a new attitude, and very soon, will name a new head of adult design.
Gap hit a low point earlier this year when it dismissed Patrick Robinson, the former chief designer of Gap brand, in a move that reflected the specialty chain’s difficulties regaining traction.
But on Wednesday, at the presentation of the spring collection, executives said the company is “close” to naming Robinson’s successor.
“There’s been a long run of negative comps,” acknowledged Art Peck, who in February became president of Gap North America.
Getting shoppers to shop across the store, not merely for an item or two, is a priority, Peck noted, and to this end, he told WWD that Gap is experimenting with a prototype in the Glendale Galleria in Los Angeles. It’s a unit that’s been significantly downsized to 10,000 square feet from 30,000 and streamlined to sell just adult Gap products.
“We have a test store in L.A. as a test lab,” Peck said. Though some redesign of the store is involved, Peck said it’s less about that and more about providing higher levels of service and displaying products in different ways.
Peck, who during the interview stood along side Pam Wallack, executive vice president of the Gap Global Creative Center in New York, and Mark Breitbard, executive vice president of GapKids and Baby, appears to be rethinking Gap brand in other ways. Not long ago, Gap executives portrayed the 1969 denim program as the core of the collection, with other categories built off of it. Peck seemed to have a somewhat different point of view, describing 1969 as “one of the pillars” of the collection, and not necessarily the core.
“What has made 1969 successful is its style, amazing fit and being on trend. That’s something we want to see everywhere,” across categories, Peck noted. Wallack said the collection should have “a level of emotion and story-telling” or in other words, cohesiveness.