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Next to operate Gap brand in Britain By Reuters


© Reuters. A former Next branch in Britain is now a independent gift shop. This was January 3, 2019, as shoppers walk by. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) – British clothing retailer Next has struck a deal with Gap Inc (NYSE:), to run the Gap brand’s business in the UK and Ireland as a franchise partner.

After closing its stores in Ireland and the UK earlier in the year, the U.S. company will be able to maintain a presence there.

Next’s shares rose 1% by 0842 GMT.

They will create a joint venture, which will manage Gap’s ecommerce business on the NEXT Total Platform. The partnership will host Gap-branded Shops in-Shops as well offer click-and–collect for customers online beginning in 2022.

Next will have 51%, while Gap has 49%.

Gap will have access to Next’s UK- and Ireland-based store network that includes approximately 500 shops.

Next is also present online in more than 70 countries and sells its own brand as well as over 700 fashion, home and cosmetic brands.

“Gap is partnering with Next … to amplify our omnichannel business and meet our customers in (the) UK & Ireland where they are shopping now,” said Mark Breitbard, CEO and President of Gap Global.

This partnership is similar to moves made by ASOS (LON) and Boohoo online retailers to acquire fashion brands no longer in stock on high-street shops.

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