Next to operate Gap brand in UK and Ireland as franchise partner
Under the agreement, the two companies will form a joint venture to operate Gap’s e-commerce business across the Next Total Platform, an online site for fashion brands which allows them to piggyback off Next’s own e-commerce expertise.
Next will also host Gap-branded shop-in-shop concessions at select retail locations and offer click-and-collect for online customers starting early 2022.
Next will own a 51% majority of the joint venture, whilst Gap will own the remaining 49%.
In June 2021, Gap confirmed that it would close all of its remaining stores in the UK and Ireland by the end of September 2021.
At the time of the announcement Gap also confirmed it would continue to have a digital presence in the UK as digital sales were growing in the market, and was looking for “a partner to help drive our online business”.
According to Companies House documents for the year 1 February 2019 – 1 February 2020, Gap’s UK division reported £3.27 million of impairment charges on underperforming stores, with sales falling 9.5% to £195.1 million and producing an operating losses of £40.7 million.
In a statement, Lord Wolfson, CEO of Next, commented: “Next is delighted at the prospect of its Total Platform supporting Gap on the next stage of development of their world-renowned brand in the UK and Ireland.”
Mark Breitbard, CEO and President of Gap Global, added: “Gap is partnering with Next, one of the UK’s leading online clothing retailers, to amplify our omnichannel business and meet our customers in UK & Ireland where they are shopping now.”