As the pandemic continues to take a toll on the retail industry, Gap Inc. CEO Sonia Syngal predicts a revival of the clothing sector in 2021. Syngal told the Wall Street Journal that “We do think there’s going to be this peacocking effect that happens, as people emerge from COVID.”
According to CNBC, Gap’s fourth-quarter sales came up short of estimates due to the temporary closing of stores in Europe, Asia, and Canada caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Gap’s namesake brand and Banana Republic struggled during 2020, its Old Navy and Athleta brands continued to grow. According to CNBC, Gap plans to open 30 to 40 Old Navy stores plus 20 to 30 Athleta Stores. But, according to Business Insider, it also plans to close 350 Gap and Banana Republic stores in North America by 2023.
Syngal also told the Wall Street Journal that online shopping during the holiday season helped compensate for some losses, as online sales jumped from 25% in 2019 to 45% in 2020.
Going into 2021, Gap looks to bounce back as the vaccine rollout continues, and consumers look for new apparel as social activities resume. Business Insider reported that President Biden expects vaccines to be available to all Americans by May. This announcement came soon after Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration. Many retailers are relying on customers to purchase new apparel as they get ready to resume some activities after receiving the vaccine.
Syngal also reported that as vaccines are further distributed, the firm will lessen its safety precautions to reduce costs.
In addition to the firm’s optimism emerging from the pandemic, 2021 will also feature a collaboration between Gap and Kanye West. According to Business of Fashion, West and Gap announced the collaboration, known as Yeezy Gap, in 2020 and are continuing to design products at West’s Wyoming ranch.
The 10-year deal will include apparel for men, women, and kids. The collaboration will not include footwear, as the Yeezy brand remains tied to a long-term deal with Adidas. While Old Navy and Athleta see continual success, the Yeezy brand will most likely help the Gap brand recover from their recent losses, contributing “a cool factor and a lot of hype” according to Business of Fashion.
The business world was turned upside down by the pandemic, but no one has struggled more than the retail industry. However, Gap Inc. is rolling into 2021 with fresh opportunities and a plan to bounce back from a year unlike any other.
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