Uniqlo Owner to Buy the Gap?

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Meet Tadashi Yanai, perhaps the only man with
faith in the Gap.
Photo: Getty Images

Watching the Gap over the past few years has been a painfully long lesson in retail failure. But the store could have hope that extends beyond its recent, impressive khaki collaboration with Alexander Wang, Vena Cava, and Albertus Swanepoel. The owner of Uniqlo may be considering buying the chain. Uniqlo is owned by Fast Retailing, which Tadashi Yanai founded in 1984. Yanai is trying to turn Fast Retailing into the biggest clothing manufacturer and retailer in the world. The easiest way for him to do this by targeting the U.S. market is not to open a million new Uniqlo stores — that would be too much of a pain. So he plans to take a shortcut and simply buy a large chain. Insiders speculate that Gap is that chain. Yanai has said it's "within the scope" of names he's considering. Gap could greatly benefit from the minds that brought us Uniqlo, which ingeniously installed Jil Sander as that store's creative director in March. Because unlike Gap, Uniqlo is impossible to avoid. Need jeans in a pinch? Uniqlo. Have no plans to purchase anything but just feel like walking into a store with pretty colors? Walk into Uniqlo, walk out with an interesting, stylish $19 T-shirt dress. Can't stand American Apparel but need basics? We could go on. It's what Gap should be — though with Hamptons flavor and a slightly more subdued color palette.

Plain and simple: The Uniqlo formula [Independent UK]