Unlimited Footwear Group and Gap announce licensing agreement

Unlimited Footwear Group (UFG) has announced a strategic licensing partnership with Gap Inc. to design, produce, and distribute Gap branded footwear throughout the European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Scandinavia, in a deal brokered by IMG.

The upcoming footwear collections will reflect Gap’s values of producing elevated, well-made and responsibly produced products through iconic casual styles that are clean, confident and accessible. The first Gap footwear collection by UFG for men, women and kids is scheduled to launch in spring/summer 2023.

“We are thrilled to add Gap to our licensing portfolio and we look forward to working closely with the Gap team on many footwear collections to come. We are committed to leveraging our 30-plus years of experience in the footwear industry to continue to grow the Gap brand awareness and international reach,” says Bart van Helvoirt, CEO Unlimited Footwear Group.

“Partnering with licensees such as Unlimited Footwear Group gives us the opportunity to amplify our strong, globally relevant brand and extend its reach to customers around the world,” says Adrienne Gernand, Managing Director of International, Global Licensing and Wholesale at Gap Inc. “Through these licensing partnerships, we are able to grow our non-apparel categories and establish Gap as a lifestyle brand that delivers style for all stages in our customers’ lives.”

In partnership with Gap, UFG’s The Heritage Footwear Company division in Utrecht, part of Unlimited Footwear Group, will manage the Gap Footwear collections. The Heritage Footwear Company plans to launch two collections a year at a mid-price level and will distribute through its international sales network of both multi-brand fashion and sports retail and through wholesale and various online platforms.

UFG’s dedicated Gap team will operate from Utrecht, the Netherlands, through UFG´s The Heritage Footwear Company division.


Gap to close all 81 UK and Ireland stores and move online-only to ‘meet shoppers where they are’

Fashion retailer, Gap is exiting the UK high street, with plans to close all 81 stores in the UK and Ireland, the American company has confirmed this week.

The decision has been struck following a review of the fashion brand’s operations across Europe and will see the company shift to online only in the markets affected. As a result, all 81 stores across the UK and Ireland will be shut ‘in a phased manner’ from the end of August through to the end of September this year.

The move is part of the firm’s strategy to ‘meet customers where they are shopping’, detailing its plans to become a ‘digital first business’ as it now begins the search for a partner to help it drive its business online.

“In the United Kingdom and Europe, we are going to maintain our Gap online business,” said the company in a statement issue this week.

“However, due to market dynamics in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, we shared with our team today that we are proposing to close all company-operated Gap Specialty and Gap Outlet stores in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland in a phased manner from the end of August through the end of September 2021.

“We are thoughtfully moving through the consultation process with our European team, and we will provide support and transition assistance for our colleagues as we look to wind down stores.”

The news is seen as another blow to the UK high street which has suffered a number of losses over the last 18 months, including brands Debenhams which closed its last remaining stores on May 15th this year and was bought by Boohoo for £55m in January to operate as an online-only, and Arcadia, the group behind Topshop, Burton, and Dorothy Perkins which closed 31 stores this year after falling into administration in November 2020.

Several of its brands were bought by online retailer ASOS, including Topshop and Topman.