- Leap, a company that helps DTC brands enter brick-and-mortar retail, is teaming up with mall owner Simon Property Group to open stores for digital-first brands at the company’s mall properties, according to a company press release.
- To start with, the companies will open four stores in California and Florida, including a True Classic Tees store in Los Angeles’ Del Amo Fashion Center, and stores for ThirdLove, Sugarfina and Goodlife in Florida’s Town Center at Boca Raton.
- Simon is an investor in Leap, which raised $50 million in January this year.
Simon is aiming to bring more direct-to-consumer brands to its malls through a partnership with Leap, which helps find and operate physical stores for digital-first companies.
Simon’s Vice President of Leasing, Zachary Beloff, said the mall owner wants to incubate brands through its work with Leap and also “help them expand throughout our portfolio where they can reach hundreds of millions of their target consumers annually."
Leap, for its part, has been focused on growing its physical reach. At the time of its fundraising in January, Leap said the funds would be used to accelerate the growth of its store location network. In 2021, the company quadrupled its store fleet to 50.
Leap now works with more than 60 brands and has opened nearly 100 stores for its clients, which include Naadam, Frankies Bikinis, UpWest (an Express sister brand), Mack Weldon and Something Navy, among others. The firm operates locations in major cities like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C.
The partnership with Simon allows the companies to “[pool] our competitive advantages and data-driven approach to deploy the next generation of brands in prime shopping centers across the country,” Amish Tolia, co-founder and co-CEO at Leap, said in a statement.
The two have common interests, and Leap thinks of itself somewhat like a mall as well, according to co-founder and co-CEO Jared Golden.
“We also have a set of considerations as a platform provider, where we try to create efficiency and value add in our growth, so that means growing clusters of doors and increasing our footprint density beyond what a brand would be able to do in house, which creates great cost efficiency over time,” Golden told Retail Dive in an interview earlier this year. “And then also where we strategically place brands and stores within a cluster: Is there synergy or overlap within the target segments? So almost like a department store or a mall owner would do. We can facilitate cross-promotional marketing and even populate each brands’ products into each other’s stores if they're receptive to that and just add value to the equation.”