Reliance to bring Gap to India in latest retail bet

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FILE PHOTO: The Gap logo is seen on the front of a store in Paris

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Reliance, India’s largest retailer, said on Wednesday it has partnered with Gap Inc to sell the U.S. clothing retailer’s brands locally, marking its latest expansion in the booming consumer market.

Under a long-term franchise agreement, Reliance will sell Gap merchandise through a mix of exclusive brand stores, multi-brand outlets and e-commerce platforms, the company said in a statement.

“The partnership is aimed at leveraging Gap’s position as a leading casual lifestyle brand,” said Reliance Retail, which is part of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s conglomerate Reliance Industries.

Financials terms of the deal were not disclosed.

It comes just days after Reliance announced a plan to open outlets of popular British sandwich and coffee chain Pret A Manger in India. It already has partnerships with several luxury brands including Burberry.

For Gap, whose brands include Old Navy and Banana Republic, the partnership comes as clothing retailers struggle with weak demand in the face of surging inflation.

Gap was looking forward to expanding “across key international markets”, its executive Adrienne Gernand said in the statement, adding the deal was part of its efforts to diversify its business portfolio through a partner-based model.

Gap’s previous attempt to woo Indian customers turned sour after the jeans and casual clothing retailer terminated its deal with a unit of Arvind Fashions in 2020, when strict lockdowns resulted in near-zero footfalls across malls and shopping centres. (https://bit.ly/3nGulEW)

Reliance has hundreds of retail stores spanning electronics, groceries and fashion in India, and is also expanding into e-commerce.

(Reporting by Tanvi Mehta in Bengaluru and Aditya Kalra in New Delhi; editing by Maju Samuel and Jason Neely)

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