In his first interview since being tapped as Gap Inc.’s new CEO, Art Peck tells BuzzFeed News the company is facing the biggest change in retail since the rush to the suburbs and rise of big-box stores in the 1950s and 60s.
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File
You've probably heard this story before: In a sunny office overlooking the San Francisco Bay Bridge, a casually dressed executive pitches a reporter on the technology-driven disruption overtaking his industry, and how his company will come out on top.
But in this case, the company in question is no startup — it's Gap Inc., the 45-year-old mainstay of suburban shopping malls that's home to Middle America's favorite clothing brands: Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic. And the pitchman is Art Peck, the 59-year-old digital chief of the company, who will take over as its CEO in two-and-a-half months and get working on the enormous task of reshaping Gap for the 21st century.
Today, there are nearly 3,600 Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy stores around the world, and Gap Inc. rakes in upwards of $ 16 billion in annual sales. More than three-quarters of that still comes from America, where it's the country's biggest specialty retailer, meaning it operates more of those mall stores outside of department stores than anyone else.
The company has made it so that you can spend a lifetime in Gap clothes: Get born and play in BabyGap and Gap Kids, and grow up and spend the weekends in regular Gap. Go to work in Banana Republic. Bring the whole family to Old Navy, and save some money at the outlets. Work out in Athleta. Go high-fashion in Intermix and Piperlime. You get the idea.