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

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

Kanye West


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.

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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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