Founded in 1969 by Doris and Don Fisher of San Fransisco, CA, Gap, Inc. went public in 1976. The company’s popularity boosted in the 1990’s with the help of its trendy jeans and khakis. I can still remember the first pair of Gap jeans I owned. I wore them past their prime – until the holes in the back pockets became too large to hide with an over-sized shirt.
The Gap family grew in the twenty-plus years since it began being publicly traded. Banana Republic was acquired in 1983 and features upscale apparel. The kiddos began enjoying fashionable clothing in 1986 when the first GapKids store opened. In 1989, the company went global and became the second-largest branded apparel in the world by 1992. Having joined the Gap family in 1994, Old Navy was the solution to capturing the family, value- yet fashionably minded, market.
Fast forward to today. Like most retailers, The Gap has felt the pressures and the presence of competitors in these tough economic times. By knowing where the company stands in relation to its rivals, the Gap can better position itself to keep or improve its market share. Hence, an analysis of its SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats is essential. Strengths and weaknesses are derived from a company’s internal environment, whereas opportunities and threats are based on external factors. Strengths enhance a firm’s competitiveness in its industry and weaknesses are deficiencies of the company or competitive liabilities. Opportunities can open the door to help formulate company strategies and threats can close them. Let’s take a look at The Gap, Inc. and see how it is creating a “gap” amongst the competition with its SWOT breakdown:
The Gap, Inc.’s key strengths of high margins and a balanced portfolio will help it remain competitive in a fragmented industry. It’s online and global presence will help to counter reduced consumer spending in the U.S. and Europe. It is important that Gap periodically review its internal and external influences in order to continue its success as a retail apparel leader. Like any component of business, change is inherent and being able to recognize change and adapt accordingly are critical to the long-term success of the company.