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Gap Says Poor 1st Quarter Wasn't Rebekka Bay's Fault

The (relatively) new creative director didn't have the team support she needed to really nail it, says CEO Glenn Murphy.

In spite of Rebekka Bay's much-anticipated arrival as creative director of Gap, her first collection for the American brand didn't have quite the impact with consumers that one might have expected, with sales dipping 5 percent in the first quarter of 2014. But it's not her fault, Gap Inc. CEO Glenn Murphy said on the company's earnings call Thursday afternoon: Bay just didn't have the staff she needed to deliver a knockout first collection.

"To be fair to her, she wasn't facing off with a senior merchant, she was facing off with more junior people at the time," said Murphy. "She didn't have a head of women's. Because Rebekka was not surrounded by the supporting cast that every creative director needs, we didn't have the best first quarter."

Bay was named creative director in September, 2012 and showed her first full collection, for spring, to editors last October. In July 2013, Gap placed Michelle DeMartini, a 20-year veteran of the company, in the role of head of merchandising to give Bay the full backing she needed.

Murphy noted that from his perspective, the product currently in stores is better than what consumers saw during the first quarter.

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"I have a lot of faith in what Rebekka — and now that she has the full team that she needs — is going to get done," Murphy said.