Gap has just announced that it's splitting from Old Navy to become its own publicly traded company. While this might not affect shoppers too much, it could affect the gift cards that they have been hanging onto. Can you still use Old Navy gift cards at Gap once they separate? You might have to keep an eye on the calendar if you want to hold onto your cards for a little bit longer.
The two companies have been bundled together for 25 years. But starting 2020, Old Navy will be its own company, while the Gap, Athleta, Banana Republic, Intermix, and Hill City will fall under the umbrella of a yet-to-be-named parent company.
The reason for the split is that Old Navy has emerged as its own specific brand, and has veered away from its other sister companies in both style, marketing, and clients. Because of this, it no longer makes sense to keep Old Navy tied to a business model that will keep it from growing.
“Following a comprehensive review by the Gap Inc. Board of Directors, it’s clear that Old Navy’s business model and customers have increasingly diverged from our specialty brands over time, and each company now requires a different strategy to thrive moving forward," Robert Fisher, Gap Inc.’s Board Chairman, said in a press release.
But seeing how both Old Navy and Gap were under one parent company, shoppers had the perk to use gift cards interchangeably between both stores. When the split becomes official in 2020, shoppers might no longer be able to do so. But until then, you can keep using your cards like you always have.
"Until the separation, which is expected to occur in 2020, it is business as usual. Nothing is expected to change about our gift cards or online shopping experience prior to the separation. We will provide more information on the two companies and our plans for them to operate independently as we work through the process," a Gap representative shares with Bustle.
Old Navy has thrived in recent years, thanks in part to its commitment to diversity, body positivity, and affordability. In 2018, sales grew at least 3 percent. On the other hand, Gap's sales fell by 5 percent that same year. Gap Inc. also plans on closing 230 stores over the next few years, which makes the split from Old Navy all the more explainable.
When Gap opened in 1969, it quite literally filled the gap for twenty-somethings when it came to jeans. According to Slate, Donald Fisher, a middle aged real estate developer, noticed that San Francisco had a lot of hippies that loved denim. But his hometown had nowhere to really buy any Levi's. This led Fisher to open up Gap, and by two years the jean selling brand was so successful that it went public in 1971.
Things have changed since then, though, and now Gap is going its separate way from Old Navy. The upside is that shoppers still have two years before any major changes happen, so keep on shopping as usual.