Three articles from the past few weeks highlight the struggles of some beloved fashion brands:
Banana Republic reported sales down 12% in the last quarter, and 15% in just the last month. Banana Republic is part of the Gap family of brands, which also includes Intermix at the upper end of the market and Old Navy down market. The Gap brand has been struggling for even longer, and will shutter a quarter of its 675 shops over the next few years. Old Navy is the star now, but it wasn’t long ago that it was the troubled member of the group.
Sales last quarter dropped 11%, the fifth consecutive quarter of declines since the peak in 2014. J. Crew moved upmarket significantly under the leadership of CEO Mickey Drexler, who previous to that post was responsible for Gap’s meteoric rise in the 1990s. As with Banana Republic, business analysts point to increasing pressure from fast-fashion brands like H&M and Zara as a key reason for the decline.
It’s not just traditional retailers who are struggling – fast-fashion titan Uniqlo is having a hard time finding an audience in the US. Its premium denim brand J brand has lost some of its previous cache, and its stores in suburban malls are suffering from the brand’s lack of name recognition in the States.