Friday, January 05, 2007

Just give Pressler his $200 million and call it a day

The real reason I read the NYPost business page? To see what imaginative new way its writers will ravage their chosen targets. John Wren, Marvin Girouard, Ron Perelman -- they're the most elite, perfect whipping boys ever!

But today brings bitter disappointment. Here is Janet Whitman on Gap's situation: "The struggling company posted an 8 percent drop in December same-store sales....The poor performance prompted renewed chatter among some investors that Gap chief Paul Pressler should lose his job." It's like she's just sticking to facts. The hell? Pressler's so incompetent the board's getting involved yet there's not a catty aside or personal attack to be had.

Or maybe I'm just tired of all the retail reporting that gives me dots but no connections. If gift card sales were up -- "The National Retail Federation estimated the average amount spent on gift cards rose to $116.50 from $88 last year" -- and online sales broke records, then what's really going on? Someone's making money somewhere, right? All I'm asking for is a little context. Or failing that, some cheap shots. C'mon!

ADDED: I see the Wall Street Journal, in its small, subscriber-only way, offers dots and some connections. If only they'd work in allegations of "a bog of financial razzle-dazzle," I'd be happy.


Anonymous said...

It's time for Pressler to go. Now. When they, Gap, speak of management changes they are talking about shuffling management....within the company.
Recently changes have taken place to move people from Banana Republic to Gap and Old Navy. With Banana Republic only posting low single digit comps for a short time is this the best strategy? And if you look deeper into those changes they have moved people with a negetive comp track record into these new jobs....because they "inspire staff". What about inspiring "sales results". Gap has a track record of moving incompetent people from one position to another because they have "a feeling" about them.
It's time to get rid of people that don't deliver and bring in, from the outside, people that know product. But from what I hear....they can't even get people to interview there. So the shuffling continues.

Make the logo bigger said...

The minute Gap created Old Navy they were doomed.

Anonymous said...

Old Navy should be a cash cow for Gap. It exploded onto the market and has become the largest contributor to the Gap portfolio. It was started with talented people that offered a "new" perspective on merchandising. It was unique and did not look like one of the other Gap brands.
Now, however, they have cross-pollinated so many executives and merchants that all three brands look alike.
Rather than keep the brands as seperate functioning entities they pull resources from each other. Work at Gap and get a promotion to Old Navy, Work at Old Navy and get a promotion going to Gap. Do a good job at Old Navy and they move you to Banana. Etc. Execs and merchants just try to use strategies that worked for them at one brand and impliment it at another. end up with all three brands doing the same thing. Only the prices and materials have changed.
Another thing to note is the experience of executives at Gap Inc . Most people there have only worked there. Their entire career. No other reference points to pull from. The reason college kids love going into corporate work there after graduating is that they know they can get promoted every year (they promote you before they have a chance to evaluate the impact of your strategies and see results). By the time you are 28 you are an executive and have enough stock grants to be set.
What they need to do is stop promoting the same people that have put such inept strategies into play to caused the slide in sales.

Irene Done said...

Anonymous -- Interesting. Of course all I know is what I read in the papers (sad, that) but didn't Pressler fire two high-ups -- both women I think -- earlier this year? Wasn't one of them the president of Old Navy? Were they just sacrificial lambs? And who is Cynthia Harriss?

$200 million might be a small price to pay to get this thing outa the ditch.

Anonymous said...

Well...the two women you mention are probably Jenny Ming of Old Navy and Julie Rosen of Gap. It had been rumored, for awhile, that Jenny wanted to leave ON as she saw the writing on the wall. I believe that the concensus around Gap Inc is that Jenny was not fired but was tired of the politics.
Rosen, however, was most assuredly let go. But as I mentioned before about the shuffling...she was brought into Gap because of her brief success at Banana Republic. The strategies that worked for her at Banana did not translate to Gap and further confused the customers as to the identity of both brands. Same merchandise and set up..different price structure.
Rosen has been replaced with...her replacement at BR. I guess we'll see how that goes. But moving Karyn Hillman to Gap to replace Rosen continues the cycle. She is credited with giving Gap their "bright spot" in sales during December at BR. But a 2 percent comp?? Is that worth promoting someone over? Gap inc does not give out sales plans but I can guarantee that the 2% comp fell short of planned sales. Which means the goals were still not met. And from what I hear the comp came almost enirely out of men's with women's sales still negetive. Women's is the largest portion of Gap adult sales this a wise move? Further...analysts have gone on and on about how Gap needs to re-capture the youth market and make it cool again. Does bringing in someone with a merchandising background for "work" clothing targeted at 30-55 year olds have the stuff to re-engage the youth market?
Gap needs to bring in new blood that will shake things up. But their "culture" is not a place that embraces this. Their track record with retaining outside talent has been very bad.

Anonymous said...

Cynthia Harriss is president of the GAP clothing chain, a position she has held since May 2005. She oversees GAP Adult, GapKids, babyGap and GapBody. Harriss joined Gap at the invitiation of her former Disney boss, Paul Pressler, in February 2004 as president of GAP Outlet stores. She was promoted to President of GAP stores in May 2005.
Previously, she was president of the Disneyland Resort, which includes the Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure theme parks, three hotels and the Downtown Disney retail, dining and entertainment center. Earlier she had been senior vice president of stores for the Disney Store chain. At the Disney Store, she worked with Pressler, who became president of the Disneyland Resort in 1995, and who brought her to the Disneyland Resort in 1997 as senior vice president of park operations.
Before joining Disney in 1992, Harriss spent 19 years with the Paul Harris Stores women's clothing chain in the Midwest.
Hmmmm...Disney Resorts. And before that Paul Harris Stores in the midwest. I didn't know that chain was still in business. Great resume to be President of Gap.

Anonymous said...

So...Pressler is gone. It's about time. There should be more news in the next few weeks. People there are not going to want to deal with what a new insider will bring to the table.....accountability.
I wonder if they have called Allen Questrom yet?