Posts Tagged 'The Gap'

Cuba: How soon an opportunity for U.S. retailers?

Without veering into political comment, surely one of the biggest news stories in recent months is the more open relationship between the U.S. and Cuba. It’s interesting to reflect (as in the following RetailWire comment) on what this means for American┬ámarketers:

The chance for American retailers and brands to capture market share in Cuba depends on its residents improving their standard of living in a dramatic fashion. Low take-home pay and other standards of living make it hard to imagine a thriving trade in discretionary goods anytime soon. Last week’s policy moves open the door just a bit, but real progress is going to take years.

Frankly, it’s going to take a regime change committed to economic development even under the umbrella of a so-called “Communist” regime — similar to what has happened in China over the past 40 years — before you start finding a branch of the Gap on the Malecon.


Donald Fisher’s legacy at The Gap

While it’s apparent that Mickey Drexler took The Gap to a new level, Donald Fisher deserves an enormous amount of credit for having the vision in the first place. He saw an opportunity to develop a business model tailored to fit the rapid expansion of regional malls during the ’70s and ’80s. He created one of the first specialty retailers filling a niche (or “gap”) that was being neglected by traditional department stores; in a very real way, The Gap was one of the earliest “power retailers” although not in a big-box format. And, finally, he understood the strength of branding: Even though The Gap began as a Levi’s “headquarters,” eventually the brand image of the store became bigger than the sum of its parts.