Old Navy Sizing Controversy Frustrated Its Customers And Caused A Huge Loss

Old Navy Sizing Controversy

In an effort to be more inclusive, the apparel business ran out of medium sizes. ‘It’s a real pain.’

A primary goal of Old Navy’s was to broaden the appeal of retail clothing to a broader range of women. Due to a mismatch between the number of tiny and large items and the remainder, customers became dissatisfied, which in turn resulted in lower sales and a change in management.

Gap Inc. has an issue because of Old Navy’s mishaps.

Most of the company’s sales and profits come from the store chain, which also helps the Gap and Banana Republic brands stay afloat. Some brands have stopped carrying plus-sizes because of the difficulties in providing a wide range of sizes.

Unable to provide any additional information, a spokesperson for Gap, Inc.

On May 26, the corporation will release its latest quarterly financial results. Compared to last year’s $3.99 billion in net sales, analysts estimate the company to generate net sales of $3.44 billion this year.

For the first time in its history, Old Navy in August began providing women’s clothing styles in sizes 0–30 and XS–4X, making it one of the first retailers to place such a large bet on inclusive sizing.

Small and plus-size items were combined into one section instead of two distinct ones. A variety of mannequins were used to showcase the new products. An industry norm of charging extra for larger sizes was broken by all sizes of a style being priced the same.

Old Navy Says It's Controversial Plus-Size Pricing Won't Change | Business Insider India

“This is the greatest comprehensive launch in the brand’s history and a key development driver for the business for years to come,” Gap chief executive Sonia Syngal said in August.

Old Navy’s sales began to plummet not long after that. For the first time in less than two years, the chain’s president and CEO Nancy Green resigned.

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Due to problems at Old Navy, Gap predicted that sales for the spring quarter will be lower than expected.

According to current and former employees, the larger sizes were to blame.

According to store personnel, retailers were selling out of medium-sized items and were left with a surplus of extremely small and extremely huge options.

During the spring, Old Navy discounted a huge number of women’s items to get rid of the unsold inventory. With strong demand and supply-chain issues keeping some items in limited supply, some merchants have maintained the line on discounting.

Racks of women’s clothing were recently 50% off at an Old Navy store in Queens, New York. Women’s outfits in some sizes were limited to an XS and a XXL. Canvas high-waisted pants were sold out in sizes 4-10, however sizes 2 and 12 to 28 were still available.

Old Navy’s inclusive attitude resonates with customers, according to feedback from the retailer. But the aggravation of not being able to locate their size might sometimes overshadow it.

Charlotte, N.C. resident Sydney Bassard argued that she wasn’t the slimmest participant. “Finding clothes that aren’t too tight can be difficult at times.”

However, the 26-year-old speech pathologist claimed that with the expansion of Old Navy, she has had difficulty locating her size, which is among those that have been in short supply.

In order to find her size, she had to sift through a large number of sizes.

Smaller and larger sizes are now being offered by retailers such as Victoria’s Secret & Co. and Target Corp. to attract new customers as well as promote positive body perception.

Old Navy is one of the few chains that has gone as far as it has.

Liza Amlani, the founder of retail strategy consulting firm Retail Strategy Group, called it a “major stride for the industry.” Not just in the design of the goods but also in the layout of the stores, Old Navy made a significant effort to ensure size equality for all customers.

Sizes ranging from 0 to 14 are typically sold by most stores. According to Ms. Amlani, the process of creating new patterns and purchasing additional material will increase the overall cost of the product.

Old Navy to offer all clothes in every size to push inclusivity | Ad Age

As a general rule, retailers tend to buy more of a given item in the middle size range, and less in the smaller or larger sizes. Although the most sought-after sizes are frequently unavailable, there are typically an excess of the less popular sizes. This problem can be magnified by offering a greater selection of sizes, she noted.

According to Don Howard, executive director of Alvanon, which works with designers and retailers on sizing and fit, the average American woman is now a size 18, up from a size 14 five years ago.

According to the most recent data from the National Center for Health Statistics, the average weight of women over the age of 20 was 170.8 pounds in 2016. In 2000, that figure was 163.6 pounds.

The NCHS data was used by Old Navy to generate new sizing and conduct its own study. Hundreds of women were surveyed about their body image, 389 women were scanned to generate digital avatars, and new fit blocks for sizes 20 through 28 were constructed.

In order to make sure that the outfits fit people of different body types, it had to reevaluate the pocket locations, waistband pitches, and dress lengths.

Former employees claim that the Covid-19 outbreak caused shipment delays and forced several factories to shut down, making it more difficult to get the items into stores on schedule.

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In the third and fourth quarters of last year, Old Navy’s same-store sales decreased by 9% and 6%, respectively, compared to the same periods in 2020.

Following a period of strong increases in early 2021 and throughout much of 2020, the market has fallen back. Old Navy’s fourth-quarter 2021 sales were virtually flat from the same period the previous year. These numbers don’t include any recently opened or closed locations.

Citing data from Citi’s Paul Lejuez, the analyst claimed that the larger sizes aren’t enticing existing customers to make more purchases.

It doesn’t make sense to use the floor space if some of those sizes don’t sell, he added.

There is a cost to producing a wide range of sizes for Diane von Furstenberg’s company, she said on Wednesday, but the brand aims to serve as many people as possible.

Speaking at The Wall Street Journal Future of Everything Festival, she noted, “If you are size 2 and size 16, you do not utilise the same amount of fabric.” Because the price must remain the same, you don’t want to penalise the small individuals [who would be paying more]. Bringing that up might cause a lot of controversy. However, I believe it’s crucial.”

In the past few months, Nicole Cueto has had difficulty finding her size in Old Navy’s sportswear and jeans.

According to the New York City-based publicist, “They mainly only carry larger sizes and sell out of the tiny sizes.” I find it quite aggravating.

An Old Navy analyst revealed in November that the company’s extended-size client base has more than doubled since its inception and that 15% of customers who purchased extended-size items were completely new to the brand.

Old Navy interior | Old Navy (19,000 square feet) 12300 Jeff… | Flickr

Due to inventory constraints that lingered throughout the fourth quarter, Old Navy, which sources many of its products from Vietnam due to the pandemic, was harmed, according to her.

Syngal stated in March that her company was struggling since it didn’t have enough stylish dresses and tops for customers to choose from.

This is not good news for Gap Inc. given the company’s recent struggles with Old Navy. According to Mr. Lejuez, Old Navy accounted for 54% of sales and 80% of profits in 2021.

Old Navy will be spun out from Gap in 2019, according to the retailer. A year later, it abandoned the proposal, citing the high costs and difficulties involved.

As of early 2020, Gap Inc.’s CEO will be Ms. Syngal, the previous head of the Old Navy brand.

According to business records, Gap spent $300 million on separation fees before deciding that a split was not feasible.

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According to someone acquainted with the problem, the company’s systems are too intertwined. All the brands, for example, are using the same mainframe-computer inventory system, rather than a more current modular system that would allow them to make changes more readily.

It would have been like slicing a bicycle in half, according to this person’s analogy.

‘Gap lagged behind on other projects, such as product recommendations and customization, because of the time spent evaluating the split.’ Focused on inclusivity, the company’s attention was diverted from the implementation of new technology.’

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Mary

I'm a researcher and behavioural therapist with a PhD in Social Media. I also love to travel and drink coffee. Follow my adventures around the world, or just know that I really need to be back at the library.