US clothing chain Gap is the latest retailer to retreat from Britain’s high streets.
Incredibly sad but probably not too much of a surprise? The uncomfortable truth is that we have too many stores today. Meanwhile, the pandemic is accelerating the demise of mediocre/status-quo/irrelevant retail. Gap is unfortunately paying the price for years of inaction. They failed to adapt, failed to stay relevant to shoppers and failed to differentiate from their peers.
When was the last time you paid full price for something at Gap? Discounting is a zero-sum game.
The big question now is: can they exist as a pure online retailer? Gap joins the likes of Debenhams, Arcadia and T.M. Lewin which have recently disappeared from the high street and resurfaced as online-only brands. Is the Gap brand strong enough to stand out in a crowded online market? A few years ago, O2O (Online to Offline) was all the rage as Amazon, Zalando, Missguided, Boden and others started opening up shops. The Darwinian state of retail….
Perhaps the digital realm will become a graveyard for has-been brands? Gap’s move certainly feels like a slow death to me.
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