Banana Republic is back in UK/Ireland, Athleta added to Gap's Next deal for 2023
In major news, Gap and Next have announced that the Banana Republic label has just relaunched in the UK and Republic of Ireland, with Athleta also due next year via the two groups' joint venture deal.
That JV launched last year with Next selling Gap products and hosting a number of Gap branded concessions within its major stores, starting with London, Birmingham and Thurrock, and with more added this month.
The deal was forged as Gap exited its directly-operated stores in the UK and the JV appears to have been a success. The companies said that the new extension of the agreement “highlights the effectiveness of the joint venture in amplifying brand consideration, customer experience and loyalty within the UK and Ireland”.
It will be interesting to see the return of Banana Republic, given its premium positioning at a time when the UK is facing an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis. The label formerly tried to crack the British market but later exited the country and ambitious stores, such as its flagship on Regent Street, closed in 2016. Its UK and EU webstore also shut down this spring.
A “beautifully curated” Banana Republic brand for both women and men has just launched via Next.co.uk's site.
Banana Republic has seen challenging times but appears to be on an upswing with Gap’s quarterly results both this summer and last week specifically calling out higher demand at the upscale brand.
Meanwhile, Gap’s Athleta performance-wear and lifestyle label for women and girls will be available on the Next website early next year.
As mentioned, Next has also been growing Gap’s physical presence in the UK and has continued expanding throughout November via Gap-branded shop-in-shops in Next locations in Manchester and Scotland. Manchester Arndale, Glasgow’s Braehead Shopping Centre and Manchester Trafford are now open.
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