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Athleta Builds on Pandemic Growth: Will It Translate Into Better CLTV?

In this article:

  • Gap’s goal for its brand is to hit $2 billion in sales by 2023.
  • It already hit one billion, thanks to the lift of sales during the pandemic.
  • Now it is expanding its partnership with REI.

Gap’s growth goal includes Athleta sales doubling to $2 billion by 2023. To that end, it is seeking to expand its direct points of contact in retail environments to increase its customer base. To that end, it just announced that it is expanding its wholesale partnership with REI, “bringing a curated selection of its product to 135 REI stores nationwide and online.”

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As noted by Matt Powell on NPD, athletic apparel, which is Athleta’s area, has done well over the past year, “as consumers continued to seek out comfort over fashion – a trend accelerated by the work-from-home culture brought on by COVID-19.”

The YOY growth for the first part of 2021 was at 40%. The trend lifts lots of brands, and Under Armour’s activewear growth also hit that 40% increase YOY, reported Powell.

While Athleta is not named in that NPD roundup, it did post significant growth in sales this year, as reported in BOF. Sales rose 29% in the last quarter of 2020, hitting the one billion dollar milestone.   Sonia Syngal, Gap’s CEO, said she anticipates that it will double that by 2023.

“We’re constantly looking at new ways to bring Athleta to more customers and meet her where she is, which is an important component of our growth strategy,” noted Mary Beth Laughton, President and CEO, Athleta in the press release. “This expanded partnership with REI is an example of how we can extend our reach through a like-minded brand and empower a new community of active women consumers.”

Krista Hildebrand, REI senior merchandising manager, also hailed the expanded offerings: “We are thrilled to offer a wider selection of Athleta options, in more locations, to our customers.”

But, as any savvy marketer knows, acquiring new customers is only half the job. Collaborating with another brand should allow both parties to enrich their respective CRM Marketing efforts with new sources of data, that can fuel a more personalized post-purchase communication. The kind that can lift customer lifetime value by 33%, or even more. Will Athleta and REI tap into that potential remains to be seen.

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