Jess Gierisch

The Competition

In Anthropologie on May 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Gap Inc. and J. Crew

Gap Inc. is a retail giant. The company owns Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Piperlime.  Gap claims $15.8 billion in revenue and 150,000 employees; Anthropologie by comparison has $142.2 million in revenue and 2600 employees. Interesting fact-the majority of Anthropologie’s employees are reported to have previously worked for Gap Inc.  So, the companies are competing for employees, but do they also compete for customers?

Like Anthropologie, Gap, and Banana are specialty retailers operating retail and online stores selling apparel, accessories, and personal care products for women. Gap and Banana, however are also very successful in menswear. Here, there is no competition-Anthropologie does not offer anything for men. What a huge opportunity. Also, Gap Kids is very successful, and while Anthropologie makes a small children’s offering the majority of it is online only. This I think, even more so than launching menswear, is a great opportunity. I could really see Anthropologie fleshing out their children’s apparel and accessories in their stores and being very successful. What balances the lack of mens and childrens clothing for Anthropologie is their home goods. They do it big and are successful at it. Half of any Anthropologie store is items for the home, and with most of it carrying a higher price tag I wonder if it makes up half their revenue as well. Gap Inc. does not offer home goods through any of their retailers, and it wouldn’t really make sense if they did. It would be so much less of a stretch for Anthropologie to offer men’s and kids, than for Gap to start carrying items for the home. Again, opportunity!

Whereas Gap is accessible, basic casual apparel, Banana comes closer to the Anthropologie aesthetic with their city type style. The same women that shop Banana for their elevated design and career apparel shop Anthropologie for the weekend, for the romance. It’s the same customer, just using each for a different occasion.

However, in my opinion J. Crew is Anthropologie’s biggest competition. Unlike Gap or Banana, and like Anthropologie,  J. Crew is a lifestyle brand. Their marketing is similar to Anthropologie’s. A trip to each website is an invitation to follow a story.  The customer for both is often crazy loyal and shop only that store, making it hard to compete. The price points are similar. J. Crew is very good at making everything look beautiful and artistic, like Anthro. And while Anthropologie makes a name for themselves with unrivaled visuals, J.Crew brilliantly offers exclusive and specialty items on a couture detail level. They also offer menswear and childrens clothing, and actually have two mens only boutiques. Because J.Crew is good at doing what Anthropologie does best (telling a story with their product that makes women feel special, romantic, and beautiful) AND they reach a larger market with men and children they are competing for Anthropologie’s customers.

J. Crew’s revenue is reported as being $1.3. They have 7600 employees.

At press-time, anyone has yet to rival J. Crew in the rosette department.

J. Crew really loves rosettes.

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