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Gap Taps India’s Largest Retailer for Return to the Region

India’s largest retailer is reintroducing Gap to the five million customers it serves every week.

Gap Inc. has inked a long-term franchise agreement with Reliance Retail Limited to become the official retailer for Gap across all channels in India. Reliance Retail will bring Gap’s latest fashion collections to Indian consumers through a mix of exclusive brand stores, multibrand store expressions and digital commerce platforms.

The partnership is aimed at leveraging Gap’s position as a leading casual lifestyle brand, and Reliance Retail’s established competencies in operating robust omnichannel retail networks and scaling local manufacturing and driving sourcing efficiencies, the company stated. Financials terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The pandemic, and subsequent shutdowns and changes in consumer fashion preferences, complicated Gap’s footprint in India. Gap and Arvind Lifestyle Brands, a wholly owned subsidiary of Arvind Fashions, mutually terminated their franchise business in India in 2020.

“We believe that Reliance and Gap complement each other in their vision to bring industry leading fashion products and retail experiences to their consumers,” said Akhilesh Prasad, Reliance Retail Ltd. CEO of fashion and lifestyle.

New markets and market strategies are part of Gap’s Power Plan 2023. Gap re-entered the U.K. earlier this year as a shop-in-shop inside Next’s largest store on Oxford Street. The company closed all 81 of its company-operated Gap and Gap Outlet stores in the U.K. and Ireland in 2021 to focus on establishing strong local franchise partners and amplify its global reach.

“Partnering with regional experts, like Reliance Retail in India, allows us to deliver our relevant, purpose-driven brand to customers around the globe, while continuing to diversify our business portfolio through our partner-based model,” said Adrienne Gernand, Gap Inc. managing director of international, global licensing and wholesale.

New categories are another way Gap is diversifying its offering. On Tuesday, Gap and eyewear manufacturer and distributor De Rigo announced the launch of their first collection of Gap-branded eyewear. The collection spans sunglasses and optical wear for adults, juniors, and kids.

The partnership was facilitated by IMG, Gap’s multibrand, exclusive licensing representative since 2020. IMG explores cross-category product extensions outside of apparel and denim with a focus on Gap’s casual, American style and Banana Republic’s modern lifestyle. Gap’s exclusive collection of home décor with Walmart was one of the first extensions.