Seeing how I officially left the 18-34 age demographic less than a month ago -- technically, anyway -- I can't help but mull Gap's
Gap first announced its Forth & Towne concept last fall and has recently released new information about it. Its pilot stores will test this fall, with four in Chicago and one in New York, and expansion will hinge on the success of these test locations.
The idea that there aren't enough stores for older women gets bandied around a lot. But when you think about it, there are quite a few that try to appeal to the demographic. The most high-profile example, perhaps, is the highly successful Chico's FAS
I have a lot of Foolish colleagues who think highly of Gap; Tom Gardner chose Gap some time ago as a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. I understand and respect the arguments that the company's gotten itself back on track by strengthening its balance sheet. It has great brands under its wing, including Banana Republic and Old Navy, all of which have a history of success.
However, when it comes to coaxing growth out of its stores, some of us wonder whether Gap has lost some of its magic (goodness knows, its recent ads had me climbing the walls). And that's where my concern about the new Forth & Towne concept comes in. That wide range of formidable competitors I listed above are paying increasing attention to the older female shopper. (Everyone claims she's been forgotten, but it seems she's just not happy with her choices.) Gap investors are likely hoping the company's been practicing its magic act.
Mind the Gap (and its retail competitors) with these Foolish takes:
- Gap's Failed Girl Power
- Urban Outfitters' Street Smarts
- Less of Liz to Love?
- Stupid Chico's? Silly Fool.
Gap is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. To find out more about the service, try it for six months, risk-free.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.