Gap’s new creative director has her work cut out for her

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back to basics.
back to basics.

The numbers: Not great. Gap Inc. reported quarterly net sales increased 1% to $3.77 billion, but profit fell 22% to $260 million.

The takeaway: Gap’s revenues have remained relatively flat for years, but new pushes on e-commerce, expansion in Asia, and its Athleta brand of activewear have shown signs of gaining traction. Even so, same-store sales—sales at stores open at least a year—at both Banana Republic and Gap stores were down 1% and 5% respectively in the fiscal first quarter, compared to the prior year. Old Navy’s same-store numbers were slightly better, rising 1%.

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What’s interesting: Rebekka Bay, who was named creative director of the Gap in September 2012, has emphasized a return to the brand’s reliable basics, favoring trend-proof standbys over more fashionable offerings.  “None of us are interested in speaking about a Gap revolution,” Bay told Elle in January. “High-fashion pieces normally decrease in value. Casual pieces live with you and get better over time. You don’t want them to die; when a piece falls apart, you return for a new version of that piece.”