Gap CEO Blames Abysmal Sales on ‘Lack of Compelling Fashion Trends’


During a recent retail conference hosted by Goldman Sachs, The Street reports that Gap CEO Art Peck blamed declining sales on a lack of “[compelling fashion trends driving the business,” prompting a collective ‘Huh?’ from industry experts.

Gap’s stock performance has been on a downward spiral for some time now (with Old Navy being the only saving grace). Last month marked the eighth straight month  the retailer reported a drop in sales.

While we can all point fingers as to why this would be the case; the slow and steady decline of the mall, a potential inability to keep up with today’s omnichannel customer’s needs, possible poor marketing when it comes to millennials, everyone seems to agree on one thing – it’s probably not a lack of fashion trends.

While by no means a comprehensive list (there are just too many to count), we’ve compiled a few of the top fashion trends of 2016.


The athleisure trend, which is basically wearing gym clothes but not going to the gym, should go without saying. Joan Treistman, President of market research firm. Treistman Group calls this one, “A current fashion trend that transcends all age groups: Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers and Generation Z.” Brands and retailers alike have whole-heartedly jumped onto the Athleisure bandwagon, and understandably so. Experts estimate that this category will represent $83 billion in sales by 2020.

Unexpected Button-Ups

A fresh, crisp button-up shirt has always been a fabulous (and unisex!) wardrobe staple that fits into any brand or retailers’ product assortment. But one can only have so many basic dress shirts, so continuously updating the silhouette to keep customers coming back for more is a must. This year saw plenty of remixes to this otherwise simple piece, from quirky sleeves to extra-wide collars. Fashion-forward consumers have grown especially fond of wearing them in the most unexpected way yet – off the shoulders.

Re-worked Denim

Peck woefully compared today’s fashion landscape with that of 2012, when colored jeans were all the rage and customers ran to the chain in droves. While it’s true colored denim is mostly a thing of the past (thank goodness), today’s denim is far from boring. From jeans, to dresses, shirts to jackets, denim has undergone a complete transformation. New cuts, silhouettes and techniques mean consumers can have the perfect denim for every occasion.

Neutral Tones

Neutral tones have seen a huge surge in the fashion world. I mean, really neutral. Call it a result of Kanye’s oft-talked about Yeezy collections, but it definitely seems that in the past year or so, consumers have been attracted to all shades of tan, khaki, army green, beige and dusty pink like bees to honey.

Attention-Grabbing Ankle Boots

Gap also sells shoes, but even a cursory glance through their site shows very little options for your average trendy consumer. Booties are having a ‘fashion moment’ and brands are constantly finding innovative ways to shake them up for each new season. Unconventional materials, intricate heels – there are a plethora of trends to be inspired from within this category.

Underwear-as-outerwear, chokers (so many chokers), micro pleats, romantic ruffles, quirky gingham, 70s suede… the list goes on and on. Even a brand that errs more on the simple side like Gap should have no problem incorporating these trends into their wares. Which begs the question: what’s the real reason behind Gap’s declining sales?