When we were in Chicago a few weeks ago, I checked out of dinnertime conversation at a local restaurant to eavesdrop shamelessly on the next table. There, the woman was regaling her companions with: " ... and it's got, like, all these different lines in the store, you know, one is knits and one is like Banana and one is like Gap. I don't know if I'd shop at Forth & Towne regularly. I'm more of an Ann Taylor person, you know, Talbot's, and this is kind of like Banana Republic."
So this little tidbit interested me because it was my first unfiltered impression of Gap's new Forth & Towne chain. And it was telling that the woman relating her experience in the store was able to: a) place it on some sort of brand continuum, and b) willingly shove herself in some sort of marketing bucket to explain what did or didn't work about another entity.
I thought about that woman when I read BW's Oct 17 "It Sure Ain't Old Navy," which focuses largely on how the store designers are attempting to appeal to consumers via the experience of shopping. I thought about her mostly because she said nothing about the experience. And going by the comments appended to the piece, for a lot of other shoppers, the experience takes a backseat to the goods too.
So anyone else who's visited Forth & Towne, tell me about it. What sticks with you most? The clothes or the shopping atmosphere?
ETA: Props to the eagle-eyed Rebecca, who linked to Slate's Oct 17, 05, "Forth & Towne: Are Gap's New Clothes for Boomers Any Good?" down in the comments. I just checked out that slide show and ... how, exactly, is the "Prize" line any different from Johnnie Boden's offerings? And how long does anyone think the "Vocabulary" line will last? That said, I dig the stretch-cotton jacket (see slide No. 7). I've been looking for something like that. (Does admitting this mean I'm old?)