If Zara, H&M and Uniqlo aren’t enough to satiate your international shopping needs, then you’ll be glad to hear that GAP’s flagship store swung open its doors for all apparel crazy Shanghai-ers out there who want to sport a piece of Americana.
When we stopped by the store this afternoon, it was busy enough but there were no signs of people camping out the night before, nobody clawing other shoppers’ eyes out over their signature khakis and not a single line; we waltzed right in to the huge flagship set right beside the Apple store.
This two-story venue will offer all the brand’s casual wear lines, including womenswear, menswear, kidswear and babywear. GAP will also be expanding its offerings specifically tailored to Chinese customers, following the trends and collections of GAP Japan rather than those from the United States.
The clothes did seem more stylish than the things we’ve seen in US stores–a lot of it looked like it could be interchangeable for Uniqlo stuff. Most of the prices seem on par with American prices–a basic short sleeved shirt was 79RMB–with a few exceptions like the GAP 1969 Special Edition jeans which here costs 888RMB, almost double the price you would have to pay in America. You can browse the rest of what they have via their online store.
There was a major design flaw with the place though–there are no mirrors at all outside of the changing room stalls, not even a mirror in the general changing room area. You actually have to physically go into a stall to catch a glimpse of yourself in their clothes–quite silly especially if you just want to slide on one of their winter coats. Guess it was a good thing after all that it didn’t set off mass hysteria like the Uniqlo opening, we don’t think they would’ve been able to handle it.
However, even though Shanghai gave GAP a lukewarm welcome, the company has high ambitions for the Chinese market. Pushing for international growth, GAP has been actively seeking to tap into the Chinese market, allowing the company to regain market share. With its most recent campaign, featuring bloggers Julia Frakes, Wang Momo and celebrities Zhou Xun and Philippe Cousteau Jr., the targeted market is leaning towards the growing young, international, hipster crowd in China, keeping a close eye on online consumers. Having already attempted to promote itself as a high end brand, lined up against LV and Cartier, its marketing techniques sure are confusing. Let’s not forget the disastrous new logo that lasted for a week, can someone say fugly?
Looking to redeem itself with the help of China, another store along Nanjing Xi Lu will open soon, two in Beijing will open officially tomorrow and we just got wind of a Hong Kong store in the works. When browsing in store today, we saw that some of the price tags on the items listed prices in RMB and HKD. We asked about it and the floor rep told us that a Hong Kong store is in the plans though there’s no date on that.
Will they be successful? With China’s obsession with consuming more American goods, my money’s on GAP.