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Gap acquires Athleta sports company

Gap is to buy the US women's sports and activewear mail order business Athleta for around $150 million (£80.9m).

Gap said the acquisition would enable it to strengthen its position in the growing $31 billion (£16.7bn) women's active apparel sector in the US.

Athleta was founded in 1997 and sells premium sports and lifestyle clothing with a fashion twist for a variety of sports including yoga, running, skiing, snowboarding and surfing. A patterned bikini top retails for around $42 (£22.60) while a plain V-neck tank top is $32 (£17.28).

Athleta will be Gap's fifth brand and will be added to the company's online platform which allows shoppers to browse across all of its chains but use one online shopping cart.

Gap chairman and chief executive Glenn Murphy said: "Athleta is a great success story with loyal customers that will now become part of the Gap Inc family of brands. This strategic acquisition complements our brands perfectly and allows us to leverage our new online platform to expand into this significant retail sector."

Athleta chief executive Joe Teno, who will remain as president of the chain following the acquisition, said: "We're thrilled to become part of this great company and to have found a partner that supports our vision for Athleta. With Gap Inc's ecommerce platform and iconic brands, more customers will learn about Athleta as we continue to provide our existing customers with the great products and service they've come to expect from us."

Gap's portfolio of brands includes Banana Republic, Old Navy and Piperlime.

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