Gap Inc. is bringing its athletic apparel brand Athleta and children’s clothing line Janie and Jack to international audiences through new franchises, starting with the rollout of online stores. Gap franchises its namesake brand, plus Banana Republic and Old Navy, in 40 countries and on 35 ecommerce sites, according to its announcement blog post. It started franchising in 2006. Gap is No. 28 in the Internet Retailer 2019 Top 1000.
Gap didn’t announce which countries franchisees will launch the Athleta and Janie and Jack sites in, but plans to work with both existing international franchisees and new partners. The initial rollout will also include shop-in-shop formats, where the brands’ clothing will be displayed in defined sections of other retailers’ stores. Eventually, Gap said it will offer franchisees the ability to add standalone stores in areas where they have proven success.
Gap’s franchisees operate their own warehouses, maintain their own fulfillment operations and track their own inventories. Ecommerce franchisees can launch their own standalone websites, like gap.com.ph, that replicate the company-owned branded websites, or they sell through third-party marketplace sites.
Athleta, which Gap launched in 2009, already serves online customers in 94 countries according to Gap’s annual report, but doesn’t have local fulfillment centers in those countries. Gap uses Borderfree, an international shipping service, to deliver those orders now.
Gap acquired Janie and Jack from The Gymboree Corp. (No. 604) as it was preparing to shut down operations. Prior to the acquisition, the brand ceased international shipping and has restricted shipping to U.S. customers since.