The Gap’s turnaround plan includes a lot of athleisure (and Kanye)

The Gap is shutting down 30% of its stores (Gap, Banana Republic) by 2023 while making big bets on Athleta and Kanye.


October 27, 2020

Do you remember the first time you bought some Gap khaki pants?

Well, cherish those memories: Per the bankruptcy newsletter Petition, the $8B retailer plans to shut down 350 Gap and Banana Republic stores (30% of all locations) by the end of 2023.

This is part of a broader turnaround plan announced last week that will refocus efforts on fast-growing brands and ecommerce.

There’s a new growth engine in town

In recognition that athleisure pants are 500x more comfortable than khakis or jeans for the WFH life, Gap wants to prioritize its Lululemon competitor, Athleta.

While the brand is responsible for only ~10% of Gap’s $16B revenue, the plan is to open 100 new Athleta stores over the next few years.

Also: The Kanye x Gap partnership could be huge

During his recent 3-hour roller coaster of a podcast with Joe Rogan, Kanye West said The Gap was the “Apple of apparel.”

Steve Jobs, of course, famously returned to Apple and flipped its fortune around in the mid-’90s. Could Yeezy do the same for Gap?

West — who told Rogan that he stole khaki pants as a teen — has already had a big impact: The Gap’s stock is up ~2x since announcing its partnership with the artist in June.

The halcyon days of khakis may yet survive.

(PS. Kanye name-dropped 70+ people in the podcast. Here’s a list.)

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