Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) revealed it is set to sell its Athleta brand in Canada later this year, home to its rival Lululemon. Athleta will be launching its e-commerce site during the summer and later opening two stores in Canada, its first expansion outside the United States.
The company, which sells quality items for about 20% less than Lululemon, plans to open 20 to 30 locations per year in North America. Company stores remain a key component for brand awareness as well as customer acquisition and its overall growth. It plans to utilize wholesale partnerships and international expansion amid franchise and stores to further develop the brand and reach USD2 Billion in net sales by 2023. Athleta produced over USD1 Billion in net sales in 2020 and experienced a 16% annual sales increase.
“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.”
Similar to competitors, Lululemon and Nike, Athleta has benefitted from the ongoing pandemic as women seek a more laid back style including leggings, stretchy pants, tank tops and soft pullover sweaters. The brand’s positive results are a saving grace for Gap, which along with its Banana Republic brand, has struggled throughout the global crisis.
Gap reported that Athleta’s same-store sales surged 26% during the fourth quarter, the largest increase amongst its four brands. Moreover, Athleta features the least amount of promotion’s of Gap’s brands, accumulating even more profits.
Gap shares rose over 60% within the last year as of Monday and has a market cap of USD12.2 Billion.