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Gap looking to attract new audiences through licensing

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

4 May 2020


Global fashion retail group Gap Inc. has appointed licensing leader IMG as its first-ever exclusive multi-brand licensing representative, as it eyes expansion with cross-category product extensions that will help it introduce new audiences around the world to its portfolio of brands.

The new multi-year licensing deal will initially focus on Gap, Banana Republic, and Janie and Jack brands, by “extending their reach and helping bring to market complementary products that embody the company’s distinct brand labels,” the retail group explained in a statement.

New categories being explored includes baby equipment and baby care, home décor and textiles, and furniture, which Gap Inc. hopes will help the brands evolve into the broader lifestyle sector by increasing existing consumer touchpoints and introducing them to new audiences.

This will be done by leveraging each brand’s distinct identities by creating complementary new products, for Gap this will be its “casual, optimistic American style and expertise in elevated essentials”, while for Janie and Jack it will be "modern twist on classics for kids and babies” and for Banana Republic, it will utilise its “modern style designed for a life with no boundaries”.

IMG will also support GapKids and BabyGap, "leveraging the strong multi-generational trust and emotional connections these brands have developed for quality and practical “go-to” needs when raising children,” said Gap Inc.

Gap appoints IMG as multi-brand licensing representative to move into lifestyle categories

Roy Hunt, head of Gap Inc. franchise and strategic partnerships, said: “Gap Inc. operates a portfolio of strong, globally relevant brands that are familiar, trusted and highly marketable across multiple demographics. We are excited to explore new market segments and complementary points of product distribution for Gap, Banana Republic and Janie and Jack in an asset-light way that harnesses their individual strengths.

“This partnership with IMG presents a unique opportunity for us to bring our fashion and lifestyle brands to life in new ways for customers around the world, while still maintaining the creative integrity that make each of our brands so distinctive and recognisable in the marketplace.”

Bruno Maglione, president of licensing, IMG, added: “Over the past 50 years, Gap Inc. has created a portfolio of powerful brands that have established themselves firmly in popular culture and with consumers around the world. These brands are household names that we all trust, and have purchased and lived in.

“Distribution channels and consumer purchasing habits have evolved significantly since Gap’s founding, and never more so than in the last few years. As one of the world’s leading fashion retailers, Gap Inc. recognises this omnichannel opportunity and the power of its brands to attract existing and new consumers from more than one angle and via more than one format. We are proud to be partnering with them on this bold new strategic move, which we believe will highlight consumer affection for these brands while showcasing their relevance in everyday life.”

Other brands in Gap Inc. that the licensing agreement might be extended to include Old Navy, Athleta, Intermix, and Hill City brands.

This announcement comes as the retail group is facing pressure from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as its company-operated North American and European stores continue to be closed, and it has had to furlough the majority of its store teams in the United States and Canada.

Image: courtesy of Gap Inc.