Is this a smart plan? Struggling clothing retailer Gap Inc. is pinning its future to a veteran Canadian merchant from the retail worlds of drug stores, books and food, but not fashion.
According to the Associated Press, Glenn Murphy is a fashion industry outsider, but the company
that built its $16 billion empire on khakis, T-shirts and jeans is praying he can reverse sliding sales and poise Gap to regain its luster.
After a seven-month search, Gap named Murphy, 45, as its new chairman and chief executive on Thursday.
Murphy’s retail experience spans more than 20 years. He
most recently served as the chairman and CEO of Shoppers
Drug Mart for six years (the largest drugstore chain in Canada). During his time
there, he led that chain through an unprecedented period of growth and
doubled its earnings per share, Gap said.
Before that, Murphy was president and CEO of Chapters,
Canada’s leading book retailer, and he held various management
positions at Loblaw Companies Ltd., Canada’s largest food distributor
and supermarket chain.
The challenge will be enormous. Gap has been largely faltering since the departure in 2002 of Millard "Mickey" Drexler.