San Francisco-based Gap Inc. announced in April 2021 that its women’s and girls’ brand Athleta will enter the Canadian market later this year, making the performance lifestyle brand’s first expansion outside the United States.
The first two Athleta retail stores will open in Toronto and Vancouver with more to come, and the company will also launch a Canadian e-commerce website this summer to gain traction in the Canadian market prior to the brick-and-mortar expansion. The physical “Vancouver” location turns out to be the Park Royal Shopping Centre in the “Park Royal South – Exterior” portion as construction signage has now been installed in the retail space next to the Talbots store. The location was vacant during the video mall tour we did for Park Royal Shopping Centre in September 2020 as well as the Retail Tour Update: Park Royal Shopping Centre in West Vancouver in June 2021.
Athleta says that it plans to open between 20 and 30 stores in North America annually. The brand already has over 200 stores across the United States which it says are profitable. Gap Inc. says that its Athleta stores remain a “top customer acquisition and brand awareness vehicles and are a key component of the growth and future of the brand.”
New wholesale partnerships and international expansion through franchise and company-operated stores are among Gap Inc.’s strategic steps towards growing the Athleta brand to USD $2 billion in net sales by 2023. Last year Athleta surpassed USD $1 billion in net sales with 16% annual sales growth.