Why is GAP selling sweaters and down jackets when it’s 90 degrees?

While we’re on the ever fun topic of shopping…I want to discuss a trend I may have mentioned before.  That the American and British stores sell more or less the exact same stock they sell at home at the same time they’re selling it at home.  As we are in October heading into the winter-wear season, this means every GAP, Pumpkin Patch, Topshop, etc is selling down winter jackets, cords, sweaters, long sleeved heavy cotton tops, woolen tights…the whole nine yards that make it necessary to survive a British/parts of the US winter.

There’s just one thing…it’s still like 88-93 degrees Farenheit here with humidity that creates a thin sheen of perspiration on every inch of exposed skin within a minute of stepping out side here in Singapore.

I don’t understand this.

I asked the salespeople and they basically said that they sell what the stores back home sell at the time they sell it.  Which is fine and good, I suppose…it certainly helped me pick up a pair or jeans and a sweatshirt for E to wear once we hit the US (I think, but have not actually bought my ticket yet, that we are connecting through Chicago…which seems like a good time to ditch the summer wear for warmer clothes).  Ravi has pointed out that office buildings (or his, at least) boast practically Arctic temperatures.

But really…who wants to wear cords and a sweater to work in Singapore?  Is it a status thing?  By wearing in season GAP you’re showing that you’re fashionable?

Further, I don’t get why GAP, Topshop, etc don’t keep even a quarter of their stores stocked with summer wear year round…even if it’s the last season stuff.  I’ve learned the hard way that there aren’t sales here, and GAP could easily send all the overstock from the US to Singapore and sell it for full (or more) price…don’t laugh…Hershey’s does it with a decent amount of success.  Witness below a Reeses Easter Egg candy selling in Singapore one month post-Easter for the equivalent of 3 times its pre-Easter US price (no I didn’t buy one).

Which leads me to wonder what GAP is doing in Australia and New Zealand.  I know a few friends from that part of the world read this–can you tell me if GAP is selling bikinis and shorts when you guys are donning the down jackets and down jackets when you guys are stripping down to tank and shorts?  I’m now curious out of proportion to how interesting the topic actually is.  Having lived in the Northeast my whole life, where we have the four established seasons, I never once wondered about this sort of thing.  I guess I always assumed that the stores in Florida were selling slightly different stock and that stores in other parts of the world stocked according to their weather.

A second interesting fact is that even with the American/British stores stocking heavier clothes, there are stores here that also sell winter-weight travel gear (jackets, long sleeved shirts, etc) year round for the cold-weather warriors.

What have been your experiences for those who have traveled/live outside the 4 seasons parts of the world?  Do the stores in your part of the world reflect your weather accurately?  Is it frustrating if they don’t?  Do you buy things and just hold onto them?

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13 Responses to Why is GAP selling sweaters and down jackets when it’s 90 degrees?

  1. Flora says:

    I actually asked a salesperson at the Gap why they were selling thermals and sweaters when they are completely useless here, and he said it’s because a lot of their traffic is from tourists and visitors.

    I remember traveling with some Australians to Europe in winter. They said they had a hard time finding long-sleeved shirts and sweaters because it was summer in Australia.

    Also, I took a trip to South America during wintertime in the US (summertime in South America) and it was almost impossible to find bathing suits in the US! It was all winter wear and Christmas sweaters. I just ended up buying shorts and bathing suits when I got to South America. Now I always have a “four seasons” wardrobe everywhere, even here in Singapore. Just in case, you know?

    PS I swear not a snob but I feel like this comment makes me look like one! lol

    • Crystal says:

      We keep a 4 seasons wardrobe too…absolutely!

      I guess what I don’t understand is how the SG prices are cheaper (and therefore worthwhile) to tourists? It’s easily a 10-20% markup and no sales. I can go onto gap.com and get the same stuff cheaper, pay $5 for shipping and then have a friend ship it to me or pick it up in the US on my next trip! What countries lack the GAP? I was walking through a medieval section of Aix En Provence and stumbled over a GAP! (I’m sure there must be, and I don’t doubt that it’s true, but it still doesn’t make sense to me).

  2. kierstens says:

    I just chalked it up to the fact that most of us work in human iceboxes during the day. Seriously. Note to Singaporeans: 21 deg C is NOT an appropriate office temperature.

    • Crystal says:

      Indeed. R goes to work in long sleeved shirts every day…I almost get heatstroke just looking at him when he comes home, though.

  3. Zach Woods says:

    Work had me traveling throughout the US throughout the year and my experience was that even in the parts of the southeastern US that had relatively minor temperature changes from one season to the next, not only did the local stores carry items that didn’t seem appropriate for the local “winter” weather but local folks were buying and wearing those cold weather clothes (although “serious” / technical cold weather clothes might not have been as available).

    I think seeing the fashions change for the seasons in magazines contributes to warm winter buyers purchasing clothes that are probably overkill for their climate. Humans also tend to adjust their outer skin fat / insulation layers depending on where they live. If I moved from the Northeastern US to Florida I might be fine in nearly summer clothes for the first couple of winters but after that I would likely start to feel cold at higher temperatures than would have bothered me when I lived in the Northeast and was acclimated to the colder temperatures.

    • Crystal says:

      True…I do worry about turning into a Crystal-sicle after living in SG for 6 months. Who knows what 40-50 degrees (usually quite comfy in my book with a sweater/jacket) will feel like to me! I’m bringing all manner of clothing to cover my different contingencies and heavier winter coats for both E and myself!

      Although, in 80 degree heat, courdoroy just seems masochistic

  4. rose_coloured says:

    Sorry, there’s not a GAP store where I live in Australia, so I can’t be of help. But I can’t say I’ve noticed any stores stocking wildly weather-inapporpriate clothing.

    • Crystal says:

      Guess I’ll have to find time to go to Australia and help you do exhaustively extensive research 🙂

  5. Kirsten says:

    When I lived in New Zealand I didn’t see any GAP or Topshop either. I believe Topshop has just opened in NZ so when I go back next year I can find out how they sell their stuff!

    But I get what you mean, I often walk into shops in Singapore and think, “Gosh they are really wasting their money bringing in all this stuff that we really really don’t need to wear in Singapore.”

  6. Siew says:

    Hi. I’m a S’porean living in NZ. Christchurch to be precise. Have to say that we don’t get shops like Gap here, but Espirit sells their stuff based on the current season in NZ. I was amazed when I went to S’pore in the Xmas hols that wool jackets, gumboots, jerseys etc were on sale. Not that I was complaining though, cos it meant I could buy quite nice things in advance. I agree that some S’pore places are Arctic like…. don’t even get me started on those movie theatres! However, I am quite happy to live in shorts and jandals for long periods!

    • Crystal says:


      I have to say my favorite thing about the gold class movies in Singapore is the blanket they give you…it makes the movie so much cozier!

      • Siew says:

        The fact that they have to provide a blanket just shows that it’s so wrong to have the temp down that low! 🙂 But I AM thankful that many places like the MRT is air conditioned!

  7. Pris says:

    Sydney’s first GAP store opened a few weeks ago. I checked it out today and found that almost everything in store was winter wear. We are going into summer. I found it very bizarre that they are trying to sell winter clothes at full price. Most retailers have winter clothes currently on sale. Some are not even stocking it. GAP where is the spring/summer wear?

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