Gymboree, Sales, and Secrets

My wife is a children’s clothing enthusiast. I don’t know if there is a proper name, but she has an addiction, as the 30-odd tubs of clothes in our basement will attest. To her credit, she’s very frugal and a careful shopper. Even though she buys mostly Gymboree clothing, because of her shopping skills, we pay about what we would clothe our kids at Target.

She’s very active on a board called GymboFriends. It’s a forum of women who all share this same addiction. They trade shopping tips, revel in the joy that is being addicted to kid’s clothes, and of course talk about the upcoming sales and sku’s that Gymboree is releasing.

Lately the sales have stopped. I’m getting this 3rd hand, but apparently the leadership at Gymboree has cancelled the last three sales only days before they were to start. The theory is that they are fed up with store managers leaking knowledge of the sales to the people at GymboFriends.

While my father was in town we ended up discussing this, and I think it’s an interesting question. Does advance knowledge of an upcoming sale hurt Gymboree’s business, or does letting the community of GymboFriends have advance notice build a better customer community?

Some observations we made:

  • The last sale that got cancelled coincided wtih a Gap sale. Mom’s with play money saved up for the Gymbo sale probably didn’t let it go unspent – did Gap get the revenue instead?
  • Gymbofriends members never buy anything at full price. They’ll wait for the sale. Always. It’s not a matter of opportunity, it’s a matter of pride & principle.
  • The people who do pay full price aren’t bargain hunters. They’re either rich grandmothers who aren’t price sensitive, or people buying gifts who cannot wait for a sale.
  • The leaks are the result of relationships between managers and their clients. Many businesses would be happy to develop these kinds of relationships. They breed loyalty & word of mouth marketing, and turn customers into an extended sales network.
  • If there is some financial metric that is suffering, why aren’t store managers’ compensation tied to it?

What do you think?

17 thoughts on “Gymboree, Sales, and Secrets

  1. Great article! I think we (meaning GF’s) all agree that Gymboree is losing money and loyal customers. We love your wife & you are pretty much a hero for allowing 30 tubs of clothing in your house!


  2. As another Gymboree Enthusiast Mom, you forgot to say we have to wait for a sale AND combine it with a coupon! Otherwise, I 100% agree.


  3. Loved this article- so true. Gap has been getting all my play money lately- sorry Gymbo but your own fault! Maybe someone should send this article to them and wake them up a little.


  4. Totally true! I spend the same amount of money on clothes as I ever have, but now the Gap is overtaking the Gymbo in the closets.


  5. you summed it it well. I do not use gymbofriends as there are log on issues I have yet to resolve, but I do use gymboplace which is good too. I am a sales shopper and never full price unless I have a coupon to take off the burden. anyways about the sales leaks. I think the more people that know of a sale the more people that will shop it. I just do not get why stores want to be so secretive. is it a big deal or big problem . .. geesh


  6. I wish Gymboree would look at their bottom line: the loyal customer. They have a site for us to comment on: gymbolistens, however , we feel that they do not listen to our concerns. I have had 3 children who have worn the brand ( I am down to one now) and it has been like pulling teeth to get them to budge on anything I would like to see in their stores.
    I wish that they would carry larger sizes and more plus and slims, but they never respond. I wish Gymboree would see our forum (Gymbofriends) as a valuable group of customers , not a hindrance to their business. Trust me, in today’s economy, we are keeping them alive; not the other way around.


    1. The Regional, District and Store Managers definitely listen to the comments on gymboreelistens, however this forum of contacting gymboree is designed to focus on customer service. If you are making comments that apply to what corporate is doing this is not the best place to do so. The comments about customer service on gymboreelistens are very important and do affect and bring about change in customer service, but not policies or procedures that are set by the corporate office.


  7. Hey Steve, thanks for putting into words how us GF’s are getting the shaft! 🙂 We are just moms who like to dress our kiddos and do it with style… ie: coupons/sales all while earning GB’s!


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