Everyone's talking about Zara - Hayley got a new dress, I got a winter coat and now they've overtaken Gap as the largest fashion retailer in the world. The Spanish chain's profits increased by 9% while Gap's fell 10% in the first quarter according to the Guardian. Blame's fallen on the American consumer for cutting back on spending - but shouldn't some of it be placed on the Gap, too? While Zara's devoted itself to absorbing high fashion runway designs and interpreting them for the masses with an incredibly fast turnover rate, Gap's flailed its image all over the place - Euro designers, capsule collections, the all-American Patrick Robinson - to no avail. Their profits might increase the week their new white shirts hit the racks, but that customer won't return until the next special collection - they'll probably be at Zara instead. Why did I buy my winter coat full price from Zara two weeks ago? Because I know it'll be gone by the end of the month, replaced with some other diluted Rick Owens interpretation. Meanwhile, Gap's overproduction means that if I like something, I can wait months with the guarantee that it will go on sale for a fraction of the price (good for me, bad for Gap) - but the bigger problem might be that I don't like anything. If Gap wants to cater to a jeans and t-shirt customer, then do that, without mixing in Pierre Hardy shoes and ThreeAsFour dresses, but if they want to cater to a customer who cares about Philip Crangi and Rodarte, do that. They've overreached, leaving their customers, and apparently their own brand strategists, quite confused. Zara picked a customer early on and continues to target her while opening almost 4,000 stores internationally. If Gap wants their crown back, they better start paying attention.
Everyone's talking about Zara - Hayley got a new dress, I got a winter coat and now they've overtaken Gap as the largest fashion retailer in the world