Gap Inc. Company History Timeline


Gap was founded in 1969 with a simple idea—make it easier to find a pair of jeans that fit with a commitment to do more.


By the end of the 1970’s Gap had created its own line of apparel which it began selling at its stores.

In 1970, Gap opened its second store in San Jose.


In 1971, Gap established its corporate headquarters in Burlingame, California with four employees.


Such dependence on a single supplier had obvious dangers, however, and around 1973 The Gap began marketing several labels of its own, as well as national brands other than Levi's.

By 1973, the company had over 25 locations and had expanded into the East Coast market with a store in the Echelon Mall in Voorhees, New Jersey.


In 1974, Gap began to sell private label merchandise.


These proved crucial to the company's short- and long-term health; by 1975 Gap stores generated $100 million in net sales.


With the brand recognition that the Gap store achieved, more and more stores opened all across the United States By the year 1976, the Gap store had exceeded sales of $100 million.

By 1976, the Fishers were ready to make their first substantial public stock offering.


Rather than wage endless litigation, The Gap settled the suits in 1979 for a total of $5.8 million, or 40 cents per share, and did its best to mend its frayed relations with Wall Street.

Foremost among these was Banana Republic, founded in 1979 by another California husband and wife team, Melvyn and Patricia Ziegler.


After a stint at Macy's, he became president of AnnTaylor in 1980, where his work caught the eye of Donald Fisher, who was contemplating the future of The Gap.


In 1982, Fisher began expanding the size of the typical Gap store, making it up to three times larger.


Drexler accepted the job as president at the end of 1983 (sales $480 million) and was given a block of stock that would make him one of the country's wealthiest retail executives.

The two-store chain of safari and travel clothing outfits, bought by The Gap in 1983, had a well-established catalogue business.


Drexler's revolution at The Gap cost a good deal of money, and financial results for 1984 were poor, with profits down 43 percent to $12.2 million.


In 1986, Drexler saw another need the Gap could fill: providing durable clothes for children.


Created in 1987, the same year the company broke $1 billion in sales, Hemisphere offered elegant fashions but soon ran afoul of a severe recession.

1987: The first international store is opened in London.


In 1988, a series of black-and-white magazine ads featured celebrities wearing Gap clothing along with other items from their wardrobe.

By 1988, the fad for "safari" styles ended, and Banana Republic struggled.


In 1990, as Banana Republic searched for secure footing, GapKids prospered and launched a new venture, babyGap.


To Drexler, the store's old lines were "trendy but not tasteful," as he told the New York Times in 1991.

He also got rid of all the brand-name clothes except Levi's. (The Gap stopped selling Levi's in 1991.) Everything else in the stores was designed by the company and bore the "Gap" label.

In 1991, the Fisher family still held more than 40 percent of the company, which now operated more than 1,216 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, with plans to expand total sales area by 15 percent annually.


In 1992, Fisher told Business Week that the first Gap did so well, "you couldn't get into the store."

Though 1992 marked a dip in profits and sales growth due to slower turnover and increased competition, the company addressed these problems by turning away from unisex clothing to more gender-specific items.


In 1994, Gap, Inc., added another new division, Old Navy.

By 1994, there were 1,507 Gap-owned stores (188 were Banana Republic) contributing to the company's $3.72 billion in sales.


The first Japanese store opened in 1995.

Yet perhaps the biggest news of 1995 was Donald Fisher's decision to relinquish his duties as CEO of The Gap, Inc.


As such, he retooled The Gap's image in 1997, emphasizing a return to simplicity and the company's most basic offerings--pocket tee's, jeans, and khakis.

In 1997, sales at Old Navy surpassed $1 billion while overall company sales grew to $6.5 billion.


In 1998, it won several awards for its "Khakis Swing" commercial, and became known for its use of celebrities and whimsy themes.

In 1998, the firm launched another round of highly successful television commercials--this time the star being its line of khaki pants.


In 1999, 570 new stores were added to the company's arsenal as net earnings exceeded $1.1 billion.


Disaster struck in 2001 when the company posted a $7.7 million loss. "Simply put," wrote Anne Kingston of the National Post, "The Gap has lost its groove.


In 2012 it had revenue of $15 billion out of which net profits were $1 billion.


The company announced it would open its first stores in Brazil in the Fall of 2013.


In January 2015, Gap Inc. announced plans to close their subsidiary Piperlime in order to focus on their core brands.

The online retailer served as an attempt to get ahead of the growing e-commerce space, but was later shuttered in 2015.

Peck had worked at the company for 15 years and had been CEO since 2015.


In September 2018, Gap Inc. began publicizing Hill City, a men's athletic apparel brand that launched in October 2018.


However, just a few months later, the brand posted its first sales decline in three years in the second quarter of 2019, with a subsequent drop in the third quarter.


In June 2020, Gap Inc. announced its collaboration with Kanye West's Yeezy Brand.

In August 2020, the company announced that it, alongside its Banana Republic brand, would close over 225 store locations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In November 2020, Gap Inc. partnered with Afterpay.


In September 2021, Gap Inc. cut the ribbon for the $41.7 million facility expansion in Gallatin, TN. In addition to hiring 1,100 employees to meet the demands of market share growth and peak season, Gap partnered with AHS to implement an automated order fulfillment system.


The new center will be able to process one million packages per day once completed in 2022.

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Gap Inc. History FAQs

How Old Is Gap Inc.?

Gap Inc. is 54 years old.

Who Is The Founder Of Gap Inc.?

Doris F. Fisher and Donald Fisher founded Gap Inc..

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Gap Inc. may also be known as or be related to Gap, Gap Inc, Gap Inc., The Gap Inc, The Gap, Inc. and gap inc. - old navy.