Gap Seeks to Tap Into Surging Corporate Demand for Facemasks
(Bloomberg) -- Gap Inc., which introduced face masks to its stores and website earlier this year, is now selling them directly to employers.
The owner of the Old Navy and Banana Republic brands is offering the masks in bulk, with the city of New York, the state of California and Kaiser Permanente among the clients putting in orders so far. Gap says the masks are both high quality and fashionable.
It’s the latest move by the San Francisco-based retailer to adapt its business model amid the Covid-19 outbreak that has turned the apparel market on its head. It follows last month’s announcement that Gap is teaming up with Kanye West to create an apparel line called Yeezy Gap in a multiyear partnership.
Gap says it has sold about 10 million of the non-medical grade face masks. The company is requiring a minimum of 100,000 masks per order.
“As we start to consider returning to work, and how you would do that safely, this just made so much sense,” said John Strain, Gap’s chief digital and technology officer.
While Strain declined to give growth projections for the program, noting that it’s still in its early stages, the current volume of orders “is a great indication,” he said. “We are excited about the potential.”
Strain said he expects corporations will return to a new special website for the business to put in repeat orders.
Like many in the retail sectors, Gap is struggling to rebound from the pandemic shutdowns that have reduced sales and changed consumer behavior. Gap’s net sales fell last quarter, with its namesake brand declining 50%. Revenue was challenged for the company even before the coronavirus outbreak.
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