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07/07/2022

Athleta to open 30-40 stores; entering outlet sector

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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Athleta

Athleta is growing its retail footprint and also entering a new sales channel.

The women’s athletic apparel brand, a division of Gap Inc., said it is on track to open 30 to 40 new stores in 2022, including its first-ever outlet locations. Athleta’s outlet format will debut with a 3,100-plus-sq.-ft. store at Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora, Ill., this summer, followed by a 3,300-plus-sq.-ft. store at Leesburg Premium Outlets in Leesburg, Va., this fall.

Athleta’s outlet stores will feature a curated assortment of the brand’s performance and lifestyle product. The remaining assortment will offer customers “unique value on existing high-quality and on-trend Athleta styles,” the company said.

In a release, Athleta president and CEO Mary Beth Laughton said the brand is investing in new access points to reach new customers as part of its long-term strategic growth plan.

“Our new outlet stores are intentionally designed to stand out from traditional outlet and clearance store models, helping drive new customer acquisition and increased brand awareness for Athleta,” said Laughton.

Canada
Athleta’s expansion plans also include Canada, where it plans to add four additional locations by the end of this year. Athleta's Canadian entry has made a strong first impression with consumers, according to the company, with the brand's new customer acquisition goal exceeding expectations by more than 40% in the first quarter of 2022.

“The Canadian market remains a strategic growth priority for Athleta and the Gap Inc. portfolio of brands,” the stated.  (Gap Inc.’s portfolio includes more than 250 stores in Canada.)

To date, Athleta has added 12 new stores in North America in 2022, with new locations in:

  • San Francisco;
  • Southbury, Conn.;
  • Park Ridge, Ill.;
  • Lafayette, La.;
  • Cary, N.C.;
  • Chester, N.J.;
  • Reno, Nev.;
  • Exton, Pa.;
  • Franklin, Tenn.;
  • Riverton, Utah;
  • Salt Lake City, Utah; and
  • Burlington, Ontario (Canada).