The Gap, also known as Gap, is an American clothing and accessories retailer founded in 1969 by Don and Doris Fisher in San Francisco. At its founding, the brand’s merchandise consisted of Levi’s jeans and LP records. Brands owned Gap included Banana Republic and Athleta.
By the first year, the store had reached $2 million USD in sales, and by 1970, Gap had opened a second store and established its headquarters. The company experienced rapid expansion, with 25 locations by 1973 and outposts on the East Coast. Starting in 1974, Gap began selling private-label merchandise, and by the ‘90s, Gap was undergoing rebranding into a more upscale brand under then-CEO Millard Drexler. However, following over-expansion and a subsequent 29-month slump in sales, Drexler was removed from his position. The next CEO, Paul Pressler, helped close underperforming stores and paid off debt, but Gap’s role as a premier retailer faltered. Afterward, several leadership changes revamped the brand towards a more fashionable image, with expansions in China and Brazil. Gap purchased Banana Republic in 1983, which was a safari-themed clothing retailer later rebranded as an upscale clothing retailer. Gap later launched Old Navy in 1994 as a value chain. Gap also owns Athleta, a women’s athletic line added in 2009, as well as Intermix, a multi-brand fashion retailer founded in 1993 but acquired in 2012. Gap has also launched Forth & Towne and Piperlime, both of which are now closed. In June 2015, CEO Art Peck announced further closures of 175 underperforming stores in North America, as well as the dismissal of 250 corporate jobs to maintain profitability, in what was the second round of such measures.