The Gap has acquired the women’s activewear company Athleta for $150 million in cash it was announced on Monday, September 22, 2008. Athleta, based in Petaluma, CA, is a popular women’s activewear apparel company especially for enthusiasts of running, yoga, Pilates, and martial arts, and is a prime example of the growing success of direct-to-consumer apparel brands. While it was noted that The Gap was also looking to get into activewear more competitively, this move will also give the brand an advantage in their expanding online store, which will now serve-up Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, and Athleta.

In addition, industry experts are speculating that because Athleta currently doesn’t operate any stores, this could be another opportunity for The Gap by either including the online apparel brand in their existing stores, or expanding their store portfolio with Athleta stores.

Interestingly, while the economy continues to take massive hits, especially in the retail sector, more brands are looking into the successful model of direct-to-consumer online store concept. And Athleta has been a great example of how this all works effectively.