Retailers Next plc and Gap Inc have finalized an agreement that allows Next to managed Gap’s business in the UK and Ireland, making Next a franchise partner.
The agreement sees the two companies establish a joint venture, with Next set to operate Gap’s e-commerce, Gap-branded shop-in-shops in retailers.
Also offer click-and-collect services to online customers, starting 2022. Next plc will also own 51 percent of the joint venture, with Gap will own 49 percent.
Mark Breitbard, CEO and president of Gap Global, said, “Gap is partnering with Next, one of the UK’s leading online clothing retailers, to amplify our omnichannel business and meet our customers in the UK and Ireland where they are shopping now.”
The announcement closely follows Gap’s decision to close all of its UK and Ireland stores to focus on an online-only strategy.
Besides that, the move is part of the retailer’s exploration of cost-effective initiatives that intend to keep the company present and functioning in the two markets.
Its reevaluation occurred due to the major hit it faced through the pandemic, putting the apparel company in an uncertain position, pushing the company to sell a 1.5-billion-dollar junk sale bond to buy back the debt raised during this time.
The partnership is part of Gap’s strategic review of its European operations, which was released as a report during October 2020.
With that, the agreement hopes to build Gap operations through a more efficient partner model, benefiting from Next’s expertise with omnichannel platforms and e-commerce.
Next CEO, Simon Wolfson, 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.”
Gap will join Next’s roster of over 700 fashion, home and beauty brands selling through its e-commerce platform on an international scale.