Agency-resistant Gap may extend its relationship with Edelman

SAN FRANCISCO: Gap is in discussions with Edelman Worldwide about continuing media and IR support for the company's corporate PR department.

SAN FRANCISCO: Gap is in discussions with Edelman Worldwide about continuing media and IR support for the company's corporate PR department.

The firm's New York and San Francisco offices were initially retained in February on a project basis "to help us at the corporate level with our year-end earnings,

confirmed Alan Marks, head of Gap's corporate communications.

Gap has never retained an agency of record, and has no intention of doing so now, insisted Marks. But the company is considering ways the firm can continue to supply support in IR and media relations on a corporate level.

In February, Gap reported a loss of $8 million in fiscal 2001 - a significant decline from its profit of $877 million during the previous year.

At the same time, Gap also announced plans to sell $1 billion of convertible bonds in order to boost its cash level. February 2002 sales were down 8%, with comparable store sales down 17%.

Recent press reports have focused on the company's move away from the traditional basics that it was famous for, toward a more trendy line that has not proven as popular among customers.

Gap has always been known for managing the bulk of its advertising, marketing, and PR in-house. The company also announced last week that it had hired Laired & Partners to support advertising of the Gap brand. "Marketing is critical as we get our product right,

said Millard Drexler, president and CEO of Gap.

"Each brand uses outside creative support as they feel is appropriate," Marks said.

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