• Retail Dive

Gap, Walmart team up to unveil new home essentials brand

Published May 27, 2021

Dive Brief:

  • The home category got a boost last year, and now two major retailers have become strange bedfellows. Walmart and Gap have formed a multi-year partnership on a home essentials brand dubbed Gap Home.

  • The initial collection will be available exclusively on Walmart.com starting June 24, according to a press release Thursday. It includes over 400 products across the home decor, tabletop, bedding and bath categories, and is aimed at college dorms and homes. Seasonal and special collections will be released throughout the year and developed with IMG, Gap's licensing agency.

  • Gap is the first fashion retailer to collaborate with Walmart in the home category, per the release. The financial terms and exact length of the deal were not disclosed.

Dive Insight:

Work-from-home life and lockdowns contributed to the home textiles category's 19% rise in 2020, according to the NPD Group, as consumers spent more money on their personal spaces. With homeownership rates last year reaching 65.8%, according to Statista, experts expect continued growth in the category post-pandemic.

Given Walmart's recent initiatives in the space, it appears the retailer is watching this trend closely. The retail giant has slowly expanded its assortment, and Gap Home is the most recent example, Anthony Soohoo, Walmart's executive vice president of home, said in a statement.

In March, the retailer launched an exclusive cookware brand with actress Drew Barrymore called Beautiful Kitchenware, featuring items like a touchscreen air fryer, toaster and blender. Walmart also released The Pioneer Woman kitchen appliances with celebrity chef Ree Drummond.

Walmart's goal may be to drive more e-commerce sales as it looks to sustain its growth from last year. For Gap, the partnership is more of a head-scratcher. While the tie-up grants Gap access to Walmart's broad customer base (emphasized by the brand's CEO, Mark Breitbard, in a statement Thursday), the move downmarket is unlikely to help the struggling brand with its most pressing challenge — recapturing its status as a style icon. When Gap's IMG deal was first announced about a year ago, GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders warned that extending the brand before rehabilitating it risked causing confusion and cheapening Gap's image.

Gap Home isn't the only lifestyle brand formed by two retailers. Target partnered with Levi Strauss & Co. to release a collection of over 100 home, pet, accessories and apparel merchandise in January.

Daphne Howland contributed to this report.

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