The Fight to Save Forth and Towne

 

If you love Forth and Towne… It’s now time to speak up…

Visit the blog- Save the Towne

According to my sources at Gap Inc, the company is closing the career wear oriented stores not because of poor sales (in fact the stores have been doing very well), but BECAUSE GAP AND OLD NAVY ARE NOT DOING WELL and investors feel that rather than growing a successful brand, they will continue to put money in the ones that are failing….

From MSNBC.com

Gap Inc. is closing the Forth & Towne chain that was supposed to help the struggling retailer sell more clothes to older women, aborting the 18-month expansion so management can concentrate on reviving the company’s more established brands.

Okay this just doesn’t make sense to me.. maybe it’s because I’m a shopper not an economist. If a store is doing well, better than your other stores, it would seem that it would be a concept worth investing in.  Forth and Towne is perhaps the only place to find affordable work wear for women sizes 2-20. The quality is much better than Ann Taylor Loft and even Ann Taylor itself. It is definitely more stylish than Coldwater Creek or J.Jill or Talbots.  I bet you that the average sale at the store was significantly higher than that at the Gap and Old Navy.

Then there’s the assumption that their “more established brands”, are even worth saving. The $40 million total invested in Forth and Towne by Gap, Inc is less than 1/4th what the store spent on ads for Old Navy stores, yet the stores were performing much better than the other stores.  What reason do you need to shop at the Gap, when you can find the same thing for less at Old Navy? Why do you need to go to Old Navy when you can buy similar (sometimes better) quality clothing at Target or Wal-Mart?

As a final farewell, I made the track up to the brand’s flagship West Nyack Store and every woman.. I mean EVERY woman, who entered the store expressed saddest over it’s closing. Maybe the Gap should listen to it’s customers and not youth centered marketers and press who have NEVER been in an actual Forth and Towne store.

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Comments

  1. says

    Well, I’ve never shopped at Forth & Towne (19-yr-old college student—not the target demographic), but would be very sad to see Old Navy go.  I shop at Target, too, but in general I like Old Navy’s clothes better—better colors, better selection, and the prices are just as good.  I’ve never had a problem with their quality, either.  I couldn’t care less about the Gap, though—they’ve always seemed to do more basics, but they’re way more expensive.

    I hope they can find a way to save Forth & Towne and Old Navy.

  2. KathyB says

    It seems to me that Forth and Towne hardly does any advertising. At least I was unaware of their existence until quite recently. I haven’t been to their stores because I live in NYC and have no car but looking at their website, I would just LOVE to shop there, if they had a store in a more convenient location. I think they should really reconsider, the brand could do so well.

  3. Jinx Winstanley says

    I was dying for a Forth and Towne hoping to see them in person. TOO BAD. Perhaps their marketing strategy is to sell only to the rapid turnover trend set. I invest in clothes and keep them forever. To get the styles and quality I want at a price I can afford is a lot of work !

  4. says

    I have never been in an F and T.  Why didn’t they open them in NYC?  I shop A LOT and I think this would have been right up my alley (soccer mom, 2 kids, 40ish)  I was reluctant to order online because I like to try things on first.  I hope old navy stays open mainly because of my kids. I can always find great things for them.  I really don’t shop at the gap anymore, I am clearly not their target customer, and I only buy their kids clothes on sale, but between target, lands end, and old navy, I am taken care of.

  5. says

    This news just saddens me.  I love this brand, and this brand has done very well without advertising on the level of ON or Gap.  I feel they haven’t invested fully in this brand and to let it go now is just a shame.

  6. corinneyb says

    How sad…I just took a moment to peruse their website and their collections are just lovely and do seem pretty affordable if the quality is as good as everyone is saying it is.  Did they think there would be too much crossover from Banana Republic?  It seems BRs price point is higher.  And if F&T was doing so well without the huge marketing budget, why doesn’t Gap, Inc. think that they need re-invigorate Gap and Old Navy with giant ad campaigns?  Doesn’t make sense to me, either, I guess.

  7. DJW says

    I just went to Forth and Towne’s website which obviously is no longer. I would think that they’d put things on sale online to get rid of inventory. Budget Fashionista, PLEASE tell us where will these items go…Filene’s Basement, TJ Maxx, etc.?

  8. Anna says

    My mom, my older sister, and I (19yrs) went to Towne and Forth once, but weren’t able to find anything that we really liked.  Both my mom and I shop much more at the Gap Outlet because there we can find basics that are good quality at lower prices than Old Navy or Target.  In both of our age ranges, we prefer Gap Outlet to Towne and Forth.

  9. romagrrl says

    Why is F&T only in the burbs? I haven’t wanted to try the clothes but all of the stores are very far away from the Chicago.

    On a similar note, I’ve noticed that the quality has gone down on Banana Republic.  I’ll only buy there now if something is on sale.

  10. Rita says

    I have shopped at F&T since it opened (was in Chicago for the grand opening at Woodfield when visiting and at the one in San Diego where I live).  My favorite store ever!!  They have never sold anything through the website and the current inventory has not been clearanced.  In fact, the Summer collections were already manufactured and purchased before the decision to close and my local store expects those collections to arrive in April/May.  Closures will not happen until June.  At my local Gap, it was rumored that one of the four “collections” from F&T would go to Old Navy and the other three to the larger GAP stores.  The sales people at GAP and F&T have heard all kinds of things and are a wealth of rumors!!

    I hope the powers that be change thier minds and give the stores a better chance.

  11. Kathy says

    I’m extremely dissapointed that they’re closing the Forth and Towne stores. I like Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic but this new division targets my demo: mid 40’s, working mom looking for comfortable, stylish, and affordable clothing. I’ve shopped the other stores for myself, my husband and kids. After checking out the website I was soooo waiting for a store to open in my area. There aren’t very many options for us ladies over 40.

  12. Christine says

    I live just minutes from the West Nyack store. It’s in an abysmal, over-trafficked mall. A typical suburban nightmare. The F&T store is the jewel. I had a hunch it wouldn’t last because I thought people just wouldn’t get it. So I’m happy to hear that I was wrong—that people DID get F&T and did buy their clothes and did experience their wonderful, welcoming, honest, bend-over-backwards service. Anyone within traveling distance of this place (about a half-hour north of the Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge) please go while you still can. It will be a pleasure. I promise. And say hello to Marjorie in the fitting room. She’s one of a kind.

    I’m wondering why Gap Inc. didn’t try to seek a buyer for the F&T chain. So disappointing.

  13. kirsten says

    You know, Gymboree did the exact same thing with Janeville, my fav little chain this last month.  i am seeing a trend here.  these corporations open stores for those of us in the 30s and 40s who want quality clothes that are trendy and not too expensive, that work with our busy lifestyles and then, when the stores do well, they up and close them and decide to focus instead on their other brands.  I don’t get it!  I was heartbroken when Janeville closed, and they only bothered to open 14 stored nationwide, but I was lucky enough to live within 20 minutes of the only 2 stores in CA.  Now I see Gap doing the same thing.  It’s so misguided.  Do they bother to ask their customers what they want?  Do they do ANY market research?  Seriously, I hate it when MEN run clothing companies for women, they just DON’T get it!!!

  14. Erica says

    Well the reason they closed are b/c they are idiots. Yesterday I needed a skirt for work (I am 21) and I thought the Gap would be a good start and found nothing. So then I remembered another Gap about fifteen minutes away and they had the exact same merchandise. I live in Houston and their are at least five Gaps within 15-20 minutes of eachother. But they want to save all these five Gaps with the same clothes in them for what? For all their clothes to go on sale like they always do? I say get rid of 1/2 the Gaps and bring in Forth in Towne, I mean people blog about it, it must be good!!

  15. K-el says

    I gave up on the Gap and Old Navy long ago.  I am not eleven and I feel silly in pink ruffled miniskirts and lime green shredded jackets and sweatshirts that have replaced the simple and elegant clothing they used to carry.  I never got to shop at a Forth and Towne, but it sounds like it was stuff along the lines of Banana Republic only much more reasonably priced.

  16. deja pseu says

    I’m so bummed over this I can hardly think what to type.  When F&T opened at the Century City mall last year, it was the first store that had chic styles for my age group that were affordable.  It’s tough being a 50 year-old woman and finding career wear that isn’t geared for 20-somethings or looks like Grandma’s cruisewear.  I’ve probably dropped over two grand in there in the last 6 months, and had planned to spend more to update my spring-summer wardrobe.  I think this is a really stupid decision on Gap’s part, and I’m going to boycott the rest of their stores and let them know what I think!

  17. rp says

    I am so incredibly upset at the closing of the towne… Imagine getting great quality plus size clothes for a great price.  I am sick of having 2 options as a plus size woman:  Lane Bryant for cheap clothes that aren’t worth the money and Dept stores that have over priced clothes aimed at much older women.  As a woman in her late 20’s forth and towne offered something no other store did, great stylish, quality, clothing at a wonderful prices, and sizes galore.  I will miss this store immensly.

  18. TashaM says

    FYI HERE IS FORTH & TOWNE’S RESPONSE TO MY PLEA TO KEEP THIS BRAND ALIVE.  AS YOU WILL SEE NOT MUCH OF A RESPONSE…
    ——————————————————————
    Thank you for your inquiry regarding Forth & Towne.  As you know, on Monday, February 26, 2007, Gap Inc. announced that we will close our Forth & Towne stores.  All 19 stores, located in 10 U.S. markets, are expected to close by the end of June 2007.  The decision to close was a difficult one, especially when customers like you are so passionate about the brand.

    We sincerely hope that you will continue to support our Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Piperlime brands with the same enthusiasm you have shown for Forth & Towne.

    For more information, as it becomes available, please continue to visit our websites at http://www.forthandtowne.com and http://www.gapinc.com.

    If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to e-mail us at custserv@forthandtowne.com, or call us at 1-866-41-TOWNE, option 3, and then option 2.

    Sincerely,

    Gap Inc. Customer Relations

  19. Julie Rose says

    I just became aware of Forth and Town.
    What a great store!  I love it.
    I just bought my first piece and it is so classy.
    I would love to see it continue.  It has the
    great style and creativity that fits today without
    being too over the top trendy.

    Please stay!

  20. Wanda says

    I just discovered Forth & Towne and sent the link of the website to friends of mine in their 30s and 40s who fell completely in love with their line of clothing!  I’ve been a life long shopper of Ann Taylor, I was very excited about an alternative retailer with stylish fashions!

    Save F&T!!  Or at least make it an on-line vendor, at a minimum!!

  21. Valerie says

    Please, Please, Please do not close this store, I discovered it by accident while looking at a Vanity Fair magazine at the beauty salon and immediately I was sold.  This is the kind of store I’ve been looking for Chic, not to young, classy, sophisticated yet still youthful.  The Gap and old Navy just doesn’t do it for me but now I can work with Forth & Towne, maybe more advertising for this one and less on Old Navy..

  22. sad shopper says

    I like F&T.  I am a bit younger than the target demo (28), but I went once they opened up in the new SF Westfield Mall.  I was shocked because there was a lot more cute stuff than I expected.  (Since they said it was for the 35-50s)  The coolest thing was that the Allegory clothes were cut for more hourglass-y people, with a real waist.  I am a preppy, and I go to Gap, ON, BR, and AT sometimes.  But since I am more like an 18 there aren’t a lot of choices for me.  Gap and ON clothes are cut straighter, so they don’t work well for my pear with big boobs shape.  ANd well the department stores: pretty old looking stuff with elastic waists or crappy tailoring.  Lane Bryant: over priced and cut funny.  Ashlet Stewart: low quality and too weird.  So really F&T was a perfect in between, and they had classy and sexy professional clothes that fit well (but the chico’s esque other brand was lame.) 

    I hope GAP can incorporate this idea into the real Gap if they are getting rid of a great idea.  And yes they can lose the “Over 35” marketing.  Just target classy, beautiful real women wo want to look sylish without trying to dress like a teenybopper.  There are plenty of us out there.

  23. PM says

    I just discovered our local F&T store last fall when I was looking for black velvet skirt or pants for a holiday party. I’ve been back several times since for great service, and classy clothes that look current without making you look like you’re trying to dress like a teenager. I’m very disappointed to hear they’ll be closing since they offered some of the few brands that fit me well. Does anyone know of any other stores that carry these clothing brands?

  24. Supri says

    Anyone know if the West Nyack, NY store is still worth visiting for plus-size clothing?

    I wish I had thought to check this out more seriously – but I had no idea they sold plus-size clothing at all.  I received a fancy mailer last year, but ignored it because they didn’t mention a size range at all, and I assumed this was the Gap’s answer to Ann Taylor Loft.  But I’m sure any whisper of sizes above 14 would have grossed out most of the audience so that’s why they didn’t advertise that too much *rolls eyes*

    I’m guessing since it’s close to closing (or already closed?) there will be slim pickings now in the actual stores.  Woulda coulda shoulda.

  25. Debbra says

    I could not agree more – I was actually sad to learn the store was closing.  Great service, great quality, great prices – it seemed like the store was thriving – can’t imagine why they wouldn’t give it more time.  My expectations were always exceeded and I certainly did not mind that marketing to an over-35 crowd was the strategy.  After all, I am over 35!

  26. Ann says

    I have been searching for stores that carry stylish, hip, clothing for women like me – I’m 40, slim and fit, and hate the mostly boring and matronly clothing I’ve seen in stores like Chico’s, Talbots, J. Jill, and Coldwater Creek. I typically have had luck finding nice clothes at Macy’s in the INC and Style and Co. lines, but when I went last week, the INC styles were garish, psychodelic, ultra-trendy clothing that I could never wear dropping my kids off at school. JC Penney had a bunch of matronly stuff with wide horizontal stripes that was all too big, anyway.
    I tried Target yesterday- what a joke! Thin, horrible material-nothing but crap. So today, I tried White House/Black Market and Ann Taylor. White House was great- I found lots of flattering and stylish pieces. Looking for some color, I went next door to Ann Taylor. Guess what? Almost everything was black and white!! The ONLY color choices were dark red, army green, burnt orange, and khaki. I thought this was spring/summer!?? Disappointed, I’ve been searching online, and was excited to stumble onto Forth and Towne – it sounded perfect—then I saw the website was shut down. Sounds like it would have been a great alternative. We NEED stores like this! Clothing companies, are you listening?

  27. Yolanda says

    I am so sad and disapointed to see Forth and Towne go.  It is so hard to find 30’ somethings to find stylish clothes in all sizes that are affordable.  I am so pissed that I refuse to buy anymore clothes from any other retailer because as soon as you start liking a clothing line they just cut you off.  I am going to the Aurora, IL. store tommorow to clean up at the sale and from then on I will just make my own clothes.
    Yolanda

  28. Laura says

    I’ve been a HUGE fan of F&T for months—-even though I have to travel at least 30 minutes to get to one since I live in Chicago and the stores are all suburban.  I just don’t understand why Gap, Inc. gave up on the brand.  F&T was a great concept—-I loved the Allegory line the best, but the enjoyable experience wasn’t limited to the clothes.  The customer service was great.  Friendly, but not stalker sales clerk.  Large, comfy dressing rooms.  Before the closing was announced, I got offered a complimentary bottle of water each visit.  It’s very disppointing.  I felt that F&T filled void in the marketplace—something for women of all sizes, not too young, not too old.  Oh well.  The stores are open for about 10 more days.  Go now before it’s too late.  Clothes are 50% off and accessories (including shoes) are 75% off!

  29. Rowen says

    I am joining all the others who are mourning the closing of a GREAT store that finally got it right! Maybe the GAP and OLD NAVY would do better if they set aside a section of these stores to carry the kind of clothes found at F&T. We are all sorry that the GAP executives don’t listen to their potential clients.  I hope that another company picks up the idea of offering well design clothes for a reasonable price.
    Rowen

  30. E. Jean says

    If in fact we have all failed to hault the closing of Forth and Towne, WHERE can we find the clothing lines that we have all grown to love?  I throughly enjoyed the styles, fit and sizing of the garments introduced at the Fourth.  Have the designers set up shop elsewhere?  I can’t imagine finding this quality and attention to detail at the GAP or Old Navy! Recommendations, anybody?
    Desperately seeking a substitute.

  31. norma alatorre says

    I loved fourth and towne . all of my friends were very sad when they closed. I am a curvy girl it is hard to find fashion cloth that make you feel a potato bag. I want this store back you should close the gap.

  32. Mia says

    I feel compelled to commment on this (even though the closing of Forth & Towne is still old news) because incredibly, main stream press is still talking about how Gap failed its customers by closing F&T;. There was just an article in the weekend Wall St. Journal about how retailers are still trying to find that “lightening in a bottle” to sell to women over 35.  Gap’s big mistake was to deliberately call out the demographic they were marketing to.  Well guess what?  Women of a certain age (meaning over 35) don’t want to be reminded of that.  It sounds like a lot of women of ALL ages (over and under 35) shopped at (and LOVED) F&T;, and if Gap had just marketed the stores as a higher-end brand vs. a brand aimed at maturing women, they probably would have succeeded and the stores would still be open today.

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