Adaptation: Victoria’s Secret and Gap Inc.

The tide of consumer demand changes swiftly, and in today’s retail world, only those who are constantly evolving will stay afloat. In Adaptation, our latest blog series, we will highlight how some of the biggest brands in the business are embracing change as a means not merely to survive, but to thrive. First up: two mainstays of the American shopping mall.

Victoria’s Secret

According to Business Insider, the stalwart of the lingerie industry is embracing the “fast fashion” model (not to be confused with the supermodel), speeding up its design and restocking processes to compete with retailers like H&M, Forever 21 and Zara. Doing so allows them to respond quickly to supply and demand, restocking store shelves in 15-25 days, and executing product designs in line with current trends, rather than forecasting trends 12-18 months out.

But fast fashion’s secret sauce may lie in its stocking strategy. Zara, for instance, keeps very little stock in stores and restocks with new designs twice a week, encouraging customers not only to visit the store often, but to buy now before a beloved item sells out. And that’s a secret Victoria knows now, too.

Gap Inc.

America’s largest specialty clothing retailer is swapping denim for yoga pants, betting on its Athleta brand to become a main pillar of the company (along with Banana Republic and Old Navy). Though they haven’t built a successful major brand since the first Old Navy store opened back in 1994, Buzzfeed reports Gap is confident in Athleta because it capitalizes on this generation’s dominant fashion trend: performance lifestyle (aka: yoga pants as street style).

Not only is “performance lifestyle” a huge trend with no signs of taking a bow anytime soon, it also embraces higher margins for retailers, unlike the fast fashion trend (see Victoria’s Secret, above). Consumers have shown they are willing to pay premium prices for high-quality, stylish workout wear.

Is performance lifestyle Gap Inc.’s new performance fleece? Only time will tell…

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