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Gap to open Athleta standalone stores

US casualwear giant Gap is to open between eight and 10 Athleta stores in the US following the decision to grow the mail-order business by bricks and mortar stores as well as online sales.

Gap acquired the US women’s sports and activewear mail-order business in 2008 for around $150 million (£80.9m) in a bid to enhance the group’s online sales.

However, according to reports, Gap has decided that sales growth for the brand can also come from stores and will open the first two Athleta stores in Manhattan in New York next month.

Later this year, the retailer will also open stores in Washington DC, Minneapolis and Philadelphia, with the aim of opening 50 standalone stores by 2015.

Athleta sells apparel for yoga, swim, golf, tennis, cycling, hiking and other performance merchandise for women.

Athleta was founded as a catalogue in 1998, added a Web site in 2000 and was purchased by Gap in 2008. It is not known whether Gap plans to roll out Athleta stores in the UK.

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