Blog: Leonie BarrieGood news for Gap

Leonie Barrie | 26 May 2011

The first Athleta store in San Francisco

The first Athleta store in San Francisco

At last some good news for beleaguered US retailer Gap Inc. Hot on the heels of a difficult week in which it was forced to admit it has been caught out by the fast-rising price of cotton, the San Francisco based firm has been named as one of this year's 'Hot Retailers.'

An annual survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) has tipped Gap's Athleta brand as one of the latest innovative concepts driving consumers into shopping centres around the world.

Joining a line-up that includes burger restaurant Smashburger, grocery retailer Aldi, and the Fossil accessory stores, Athleta is hailed for its "outstanding products and services" and a "unique and exciting shopping experience."

The chain, which Gap bought for $150m in 2008, taps into the $31bn women's sports and active wear market, selling apparel, footwear and accessories for yoga, running, swimming, gym, hiking and skiing.

But despite the new award, it's unlikely to have much impact on Gap's bottom line for some time to come.

While the retailer operates about 3,100 company-operated stores across its namesake, Banana Republic and Old Navy brands, Althleta was only available online and through catalogues before the beginning of this year, when its first full-scale retail store opened in San Francisco. Two additional stores are set to open in New York City this summer, with 50 stores targeted across North America by 2013.






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