So we had covered the announcement of this new chain aimed at all those 35-year-old baby boomers, and I figured everyone would enjoy a little follow-up on the Gap's newest store model, Forth & Towne:
Aimed at women over age 35, the Forth & Towne store in West Nyack, N.Y., will stock three new labels -- dubbed Allegory, Vocabulary and Prize -- as well as a brand called Gap Edition that includes classic Gap styles like jeans and khakis. Four more stores will open in the Chicago area next week.
For more traditional customers, Allegory has suits, tailored pants, blazers and dress shirts. Vocabulary is geared toward comfort, mixing monochromatic tops and pants with bold accessories. Prize is the most fashion-forward, with items like a pleated skirt and chiffon top with a bow at the neck.
Gap Edition clothes are more covered up and less form-fitting than the cropped sweaters and figure-hugging camisoles that customers will find in a Gap store. Mr. Muto described the label as "designed for a more mature body type. These are for customers who love the Gap, but may not feel comfortable shopping there."
-- "Gap to Offer Four Brands at New Forth & Towne Stores," WSJ, Aug 23, 05
Is it just me, or is "geared towards comfort" code for "will feature lots of tunics and elastic waists"? And the most interesting part of the story for me was this:
Taking a page from Chico's successful customer loyalty program, Forth & Towne will give a 5% discount on purchases and free alterations once a customer has spent $500 cumulatively at the store.
The Gap's clearly going after Chico's market. The real question now is whether Chico's has been so successful because it's catering to an underserved market or because there's a genuine demand for the brand. We'll soon find out the answer. And we'll find out whether Gap's late to the game, as BusinessWeek suggests ("Gap Unveils Forth & Towne Line of Clothes," Aug 23, 05).
Personally, as someone who's more likely to hit 35 than regress to 31 -- stupid linear aging! -- I look forward to a retail market in which competition improves all the brands aimed at me.
Now all I want are photos of the store. Can anyone hook me up?