Gap clothing will continue to be sold in UK stores after Next struck a deal to manage the retailer’s brand in the UK.
Gap and Next are forming a joint venture to operate Gap’s ecommerce business on its Next Total platform in the UK, while also operating Gap shop-in-shops at a selected number of Next shops, and offering click and collect to online shoppers from 2022.
The new joint venture will be 51% owned by Next and 49% by Gap.
The move follows Gap’s decision to leave the UK market earlier this year, closing its 81 stores by the end of this month and selling online-only. Gap, which has moved further towards a digital-first strategy during the pandemic, said at the time of the decision that it would look for a partner to manage its UK online business.
It has found that partner in Next, which already sells Gap online on its website, and will now sell it in a number of its stores as well. Next currently has about 500 shops in the UK and Ireland, and sells to more than 70 countries online. Next’s own long-term strategy sees stores as essential to its multichannel sales, even though more than half of its retail sales are online. It has recently grown its sales by selling more third-party brands from its own website. Through its Total platform, it is also running ecommerce operations for a number of third-party brands – now including Gap.
Simon Wolfson, chief executive of Next, says: “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, chief executive and president of Gap Global, says: “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.”
Next is a Leading retailer in RXUK Top500 research, while Gap is Top250.