Don’t Mind the Gap’s Closeout Sales
Quentin Fottrell / SmartMoney
The Gap’s closure of nearly 200 of its stores is unlikely to be combined with closeout sales worth your while, analysts say. It’s just not in the interest of the once-hip retailer to compound the news of its scaling back with a shopping blowout that would further diminish the brand.
“The GAP should not mix its store closing strategy with its promotional strategy,” Adam Hanft, CEO of marketing firm Hanft Projects, says. “Fashion cred is contingent on being a cool and growing brand. No one wants to wear a label that screams ‘mark-down’ or ‘business trouble ahead.’”
Shoppers cooled on Gap for many reasons, experts say, despite years of well-received ad campaigns. At some point, no one needs another plain black T-shirt, and shoppers began to feel they were better off going to cheaper Old Navy or the slightly more upmarket Banana Republic – all of which are part of the same company. So before running off in search of deals at the Gap, consider this: Even at 20% or 50% off, would a Gap sale be great value? As we saw with the closure of Borders books stores, companies closing stores will shed unwanted inventory at bargain bucket prices. Irresistible, right? Sure, f you want to read another Harry Potter book.
Value doesn’t always mean rock-bottom prices. A big drop in price is just one consideration, says Robert Passikoff, the founder and president of Brand Key. “The Gap had some of the most beautiful advertising campaigns in the business and it always sells stuff on sale,” he says. But he says it doesn’t make sense to buy a $20 T-shirt at Gap even at half-price when you can still buy a $6 T-shirt at Old Navy.
Gap may not need big closeouts as the company already plans to watering down the value of its sales. (It was not immediately available for comment.) As part of its restructuring, it will add 50 outlet stores for discounted clothes. Retail analyst Jeff Green says too many discounted stores and/or promotions at stores like Macy’s undermines the value of discounts. “When is a sale not a sale? When you already buy the cheaper, similar merchandise elsewhere.”