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Gap's (GPS) Athleta Brand Unveils Inclusive Sizing for Women

The Gap, Inc.’s GPS Athleta brand has been in the limelight, of late, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the brand is one of the torchbearers for the company amid the recent shift in consumers’ shopping preferences with its active and lifestyle products and secondly, it launched its first sleepwear collection for women earlier this month. In its latest efforts, the brand is bringing inclusivity in 350 styles across its collection, an initiative particularly for its plus-size customers. With this move, Gap has voiced its support for body positivity, an issue that has sprung up in recent years. The brand aims to empower women to lead a healthy lifestyle with confidence.

Notably, customers can avail activewear and performance lifestyle products in sizes ranging from 1x to 3x for 70% of Athleta collection by this spring across all 200 stores and online. For increased convenience, all Athleta stores will have size-inclusive mannequins to better understand fit and style. Also, websites will feature a variety of body types and user-friendly options for a seamless digital shopping experience. Keeping in these lines, store employees will be provided with a mandatory inclusive sizing training in a bid to serve customers better. Post this training, store associates will receive a bodySTRONG certification.

Apart from these, Athleta is likely to launch a holistic brand campaign by the name All, Powerful to celebrate beauty and power in women. As part of this, visuals of women flaunting Athleta’s extended size range will be displayed on the iconic billboard on the top of Gap’s flagship store in New York’s Times Square.

Going ahead, management intends to expand this sizing strategy by March to more than 500 styles with the expected addition of new styles every season. Moreover, it envisions to extend sizes across all product categories by 2022. Also, the company expects to introduce inclusivity across all its other brands, including Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic, in the near future.

Coming back to Athleta, the brand’s value-driven active and lifestyle categories, increased digital marketing investments and focus on product strategy have been aiding sales. In third-quarter fiscal 2020, Athleta’s net sales were up 35%, with comps growth of 37%. Notably, Athleta recorded the highest comps growth in the brand’s history, including more than 50% contribution from the online business. Moreover, the brand benefited from continued demand for its masks, which helped establish new customer engagements across other product offerings.

Overall, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has soared 73.4% compared with the industry’s growth of 119.4%.


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