Athleta Grows Canadian Footprint

a store front at night

Athleta, a performance-lifestyle brand owned by San Francisco-based Gap Inc., opened its third company-owned Canadian store on June 21, and plans to open four more in 2022.

The new 4,260-square-foot location opened on June 21 in Burlington, Ontario. In 2021, Athleta first expanded into Canada with the launch of its e-commerce business in August, followed by the opening of its first stores outside of the U.S. in West Vancouver in September, and Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto in November.

This fall, Athleta will open four additional stores in Canada in Calgary, Etobicoke, Edmonton and a second location in Vancouver.

Founded in 1998, Athleta positions itself as a purpose-driven brand focused on empowering women and girls with products. Athleta stores aim to highlight the brand's versatile, on-trend performance lifestyle products made by women for women. The stores feature inclusive sizing with 200-some styles ranging from XXS-2X, in-store styling appointments, free alterations and wellness-focused community events.

"Since our launch last year, Canadian customers have quickly gravitated toward our offerings,” Jenelle Sheridan, vice president and general manager of Athleta Canada, said in a news release. “As a certified B. Corporation, we are filling a need in the market for a sustainable, purpose-driven brand, and we can see how that connects back to our Canadian customer's focus on health, wellness and active living. Athleta's Canadian business is a key contributor to long term growth, and we believe our store fleet growth strategy will get us there as we see Canadians return to in-store shopping."

Athleta's Canadian entry has made a strong first impression with consumers, according to the company. In its first quarter of 2022, the brand's new customer acquisition goal exceeded expectations by over 40% as brand awareness continued to rise with a combination of new product offerings, localized marketing and events with the launch of its Alicia Keys and Simone Biles collections as well as its partnership with the Toronto Six Women's professional hockey team, the company said in the release. The Canadian market remains a priority for strategic growth of Athleta and Gap’s portfolio of purpose-led brands.. 

In 2016, Athleta Girl was launched along with the brands community-driven “Power of She” campaign. The brand's mission is to offer inclusive and sustainable product designs, connecting with customers through unique experiences in stores, online and within its local communities.