Gap-owned brand Athleta shared on Tuesday plans to enter the Canadian market later this year, with both e-commerce and retail capabilities.
Athleta plans to launch e-commerce late this summer followed by retail store openings at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Center and Park Royal Shopping Centre in West Vancouver come fall 2021. The expansion marks the performance lifestyle brand’s first foray outside the United States.
Next, despite the uncertainty of the retail landscape, the brand said it plans to open between 20 and 30 stores a year with new entry points, including wholesale partnerships, franchise and company operated stores. The expansion will add to its existing profitable fleet of over 200 stores across the United States.
Likewise, Athleta will launch an e-commerce site in Canada. Its versatile product line will be fulfilled by the Gap Inc. Distribution Center in Brampton, Ontario.
The move comes as Athleta experienced double-digit online growth in the U.S. last year. In fact, in 2020, Athleta surpassed US$1 billion in net sales with 16 per cent growth in annual sales.
“International expansion is a key component of our growth strategy to reach two billion dollars in net sales by 2023, and we are very proud to introduce Athleta to customers in Canada,” said Mary Beth Laughton, president and CEO, Athleta.
“As a purpose-driven brand, we are excited to expand our community of empowered and confident women and girls to Canada and bring them a differentiated and inclusive offering in the performance lifestyle category.”
In October, Gap bet on Athleta as part of its 2023 growth strategy. The retail giant behind Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic, shared plans to open approximately 100 Athleta stores in the U.S, as part of its ‘Power Plan 2023’ strategy.
Still, to focus on Athleta, the group will shrink Gap and Banana Republic’s footprint by 30 percent, including the closure of some 350 Gap and Banana Republic stores.
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