Gap’s turning point for face masks put $ 130 million in its registers

Men with face masks walk past a Gap store in a shopping area as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Beijing, China February 7, 2020.

Jason Lee | Reuters

The tailor Gap Inc. turned its supply chain early on in the coronavirus pandemic to make face masks. And it is, quite literally, paying.

The company said Thursday when it reported quarterly revenue that it had raised $ 130 million in sales for its face masks during the period. This includes sales to individuals and in bulk to companies. The city of New York, the state of California and Kaiser Permanente are some of their clients, the company said.

In the quarter ended August 1, Gap’s total sales fell about 18% to $ 3.28 billion from $ 4 billion a year ago. Online sales increased 95%. But those results were offset by the weakness in their stores, which were forced to close for part of the quarter.

Each of Gap’s brands – including the namesake, Banana Republic and Old Navy – currently have their own masks available in stores and online, in a variety of patterns and colors.

Chief Executive Sonia Syngal said during an incoming conference call that Gap is currently ranking search result no. 1 is on Google for “face mask style guide.” She said Gap scaling up this company is “the ultimate example of how we as a culture want to operate.”

Early in the pandemic, face masks were in short supply. A number of retailers such as Anthropologie and Madewell were looking for opportunities to participate, especially as the benefits of wearing face masks became clearer. Some cities and states have rolled out mask mandates, since then, to try to limit the spread of Covid-19, which can be transmitted through respirators from person to person.

Gap shares climbed 4% in trading after hours on Thursday as the retailer reported better-than-expected sales and a narrower-than-expected loss for its fiscal second quarter. Its share has fallen by about 1% year to date.

The company’s strong performance helped Gap gain 3.5 million new customers, more than 165% from a year ago.