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 (NYSE:GPS) new concept for a store for women over 35. There's been all sorts of buzz about the possibilities inherent in this demographic. When it comes to wooing the older woman, is Gap up to the challenge?

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 (NYSE:CHS). Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN) now offers its Anthropologie line for the hipper older female. When I wrote several weeks ago about Liz Claiborne's (NYSE:LIZ) earnings, that company made a comment in its conference call about being "the quintessential Boomer brand."

Gymboree (NASDAQ:GYMB) recently sprung into action by launching the Janeville retail stores. Other players in the space include Ann Taylor (NYSE:ANN), J. Jill (NASDAQ:JILL), and Talbots (NYSE:TLB). Given the problems that have faced some of these players, though, the bigger question has become whether many retailers truly understand what this mysterious older woman wants.

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:

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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.