FINANCE

Gap Gets Fit

BY CSA STAFF

San Francisco Gap Inc. announced Monday that it will add a fifth brand to its roster of apparel offerings by acquiring Athleta, a women’s sport and active-apparel company. Gap will pay approximately $150 million cash to purchase the Petaluma, Calif.-based lifestyle-apparel company.

The Athleta brand, which was introduced 10 years ago, will be sold through Gap Inc.’s online platform, Universality, which currently hosts the retailer’s flagship brands, Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy, as well as Piperlime, the footwear and handbag e-commerce site that Gap Inc. launched on November 1, 2006.

Following the acquisition, Athleta will become the fifth “store” on the Gap Inc. platform. A key differentiator of Universality is that it allows shoppers to make purchases from all of the Gap Inc. brands and the products are placed into one online shopping cart, with a single shipping fee.

In Gap Inc.’s prepared statement, chairman and chief executive Glenn Murphy noted, “This strategic acquisition complements our brands perfectly and allows us to leverage our new online platform to expand into this significant retail sector.”

Joe Teno, current CEO of Athleta, will serve as president of the Athleta division at Gap Inc., reporting to Toby Lenk, president of the Gap Inc. Direct division.

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Now playing in Aisle 3: ‘Register to Vote’

BY CSA STAFF

BENTONVILLE, ARK. —As Wal-Mart prepares to rollout an aggressive advertiser-driven in-store media network, it is using its current in-store TV system to promote what is arguably a more noble cause than product promotion—namely, a get-out-the-vote campaign.

As part of the retailer’s efforts to engage both customers and associates, Wal-Mart will begin a non-partisan voter registration campaign next week with public service announcements on its in-store television network. The program is designed to encourage 136 million weekly customers, as well as 1.4 million U.S. associates, to register and vote in the November elections. The campaign will include two, 15-second PSAs, which will run through Election Day.

In the same vein, the company has begun hosting a voter registration portal on its corporate Web site, www.WalmartStores.com/Vote , and will put up posters with voter registration information at nearly 600 of its domestic Sam’s Club locations.

“Pollsters have found that our core shoppers—Walmart women—are an influential demographic in the upcoming presidential election,” said Leslie Dach, Wal-Mart’s evp of corporate affairs and government relations. “Our voter registration campaign is designed to encourage millions of customers and associates to register and cast their votes.”

Click here for coverage of Wal-Mart’s Smart Network.

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Trend Tracker: Framing the environment

BY CSA STAFF

Burnes is launching a line of photo frames made from sustainable materials. A percentage of sales from the line will be donated to Save the Earth.

The line’s reclaimed, “idle wood” frames—material recovered from old bridges, warehouses, factories and shipping pallets—include marks of wear to provide an authentically distressed look. They come in natural and walnut finishes and two crackled styles, chocolate/cream and grass green (pictured). The line’s plastic frames, which come in gold and bronze metallic finishes, are made from recycled materials that would have otherwise gone to landfills, Burnes stated.

Frames range in size from 4-inch by 6-inch to 8-inch by 10-inch and in MSRP from $8 to $25.

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