Gap opens first Hill City store in San Francisco
One year after launching Hill City, Gap, Inc. has opened the premium men’s activewear brand’s first brick-and-mortar store in San Francisco, a 500-square-foot year-long pop-up aiming to test the waters as the digital-first label looks into physical retail.
Located in the Hayes Valley neighborhood, the location features a range of Hill City’s bestsellers, including hoodies, jackets, pants and running shorts, and will seek to engage the local community through in-store events.
According to a blog post on Gap’s corporate website, the store is part of a wider plan to give Hill City more of a physical presence in its second year of operations, a strategy which also involves new wholesale partnerships with the likes of Need Supply, Neighborhood Goods and Tokyo’s Ships.
On top of this, the brand will be taking to the streets of San Francisco with the Hill City Truck, a traveling pop-up that gives consumers a chance to see, touch and purchase the label’s products first-hand.
The brand is also launching a capsule collection which will be available at seven stores run by Gap, Inc. sister brand Athleta, as well as at A Runner’s Mind. Select Hill City products have already been sold at a number of Athleta locations since launching in October of last year.
“Hill City is turning a corner. It’s taken a year to iron out our strategy, start to solidify the brand ethos, and get all of our products to where we want them,” explained head of Hill City Noah Palmer in the blog post. “Now we are taking the brand, which has almost exclusively been hiding behind an iPhone screen, and bringing it into the physical world […]”
The stakes are particularly high at this delicate turning point for the brand, as it coincides with its parent company’s preparations to split into two separate entities. The upcoming separation will see consistent bright spot Old Navy spin off as a new stand-alone company, while Gap, Inc.’s remaining banners – including Gap, Athleta, Banana Republic and Hill City – will continue to be operated together as part of the same group.
The new Gap, Inc. will have its work cut out to revitalize its struggling namesake Gap and Banana Republic brands and will no doubt be relying on the popularity of women’s athleisure brand Athleta to buoy its operations as it sets about turning around its other businesses.
A successful entry into physical retail for Hill City would therefore provide a promising new source of revenue to the company as it seeks to construct a solid foundation for the continuation of its operations in the future.
Hill City’s first store is now open at 522 Octavia Street, San Francisco.
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