Gap, Incorporated is a San Francisco-based apparel and accessories retailer founded in 1969 by Donald Fisher and Doris Fisher. The Fishers opened their first shop because they had been frustrated with the lack of decent customer service and fashionable styles at other retailers.
The name was derived from the growing differences between children and adults – “the generation gap” – which reached its peak with the hippie movement.
Some of the original mottos of the company were “Levi’s for Guys and Gals”, and “Fall Into The Gap”. Around 1982, Gap began focusing on its own private label, and by 1992 the company had stopped carrying Levi’s and other brands altogether.
As of October 2006, Gap Inc. had approximately 150,000 employees and operated 3,005 stores worldwide in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Japan, Ireland, Singapore, Malaysia and Mexico.
Donald Fisher retired as Chairman of the Board in 2004 and was replaced by his son, Robert Fisher. The Fisher family collectively owns 37% of the company stock.The CEO of Gap, Paul Pressler, who previously ran the Disney theme parks has resigned on January 22, 2007. Robert Fisher stepped in as the interim CEO while retaining his position as Chairman of the Board.
Banana Republic, formerly a catalog retailer selling safari themed clothing, was purchased by the company in 1983, and eventually was rebranded as an upscale clothing retailer. Old Navy was launched in 1994, as a value chain with a specialty flair.
In 2004, Gap sold all of its German operations to the Swedish H&M;, its main competitor in Europe.