The Gap Inc., led by Paul Pressler as CEO of the entire range of store divisions, and Cynthia Harriss as President of The Gap division, saw its same store sales decline a whopping 7% for The Gap stores in August. August was heralded by Pressler and Harriss earlier this summer as the turning point month, as their new line of Fall clothes they were both completely responsible for from design to store shelf went on sale July 29th. And those new fall fashions were a disaster with consumers.
Motley Fool has a very good summary of this sad retailing tale, plus archived stories from the past year detailing some great quotes from Pressler that the turnaround is "just around the corner".
While other casual and high-end retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle Outfitters, and Nordstrom all saw healthy increases for same-store sales in August, The Gap fell off a cliff after several years of steady decline. August sales were down 7% from the year ago period, and last August had already seen declines of 9%!
Wall Street is finally growing wary of Pressler's continuing statements that the turnaround for The Gap is just around the corner, or next month, or next quarter, or next season. It's going on several years now and The Gap still can't stop losing market share and sales. Cynthia Harriss has been the President of The Gap division for 15 months, after moving from The Gap Outlet division in May, 2005. She was originally hired by Pressler in January, 2004 to head The Gap Outlet, 3 months after she suddenly resigned from being the President of the Disneyland Resort in October, 2003 to "spend more time with my family". (Cynthia Harriss is unmarried and has no children.)
I went into The Gap at San Diego's Fashion Valley Mall Sunday afternoon, and the place was a ghost town, especially compared to all of the shoppers crammed into Abercrombie & Fitch and Nordies in the same mall. The way its going, The Gap is sliding towards another disapointing Christmas season with all of the wrong merchandise. Ms. Harriss is the President of The Gap division specifically, the engine that runs the entire company and the most troubled division by far. I'm willing to bet Pressler is fired by the board around the first of the year, after the sad Christmas figures roll in. By late winter I imagine Cynthia will again resign quickly to "spend more time with my family". If memory serves, Pressler also took Byron Pollitt with him from Disneyland, a guy he brought in during the 90's to be the CFO for Anaheim. Pollitt will have to go too.
I wonder where Pressler will take his merry band of mirthmakers who are so very dedicated to their families next? The Home Depot? Happy Nails? Der Weinerschnitzel?