Arun Sudhaman 11 Mar 2014 // 11:48AM GMT
SAN FRANCISCO—Edelman has begun providing corporate PR counsel to Gap Inc, starting with support for the retailer's decision to raise its minimum hourly wage.
Edelman's work follows a competitive review held by Gap in late 2013, as revealed by the Holmes Report. It is understood that at least three firms ultimately pitched for the business, worth around $300k.
Gap's wage announcement surprised the market, coming ahead of proposed legislation to increase the minimum wage at both a federal and state level. By taking the step, the New York Times noted that the clothing retailer "gets a public relations edge on many of its competitors".
The company behind such brands as Gap and Banana Republic, Gap Inc has begun to turn around its business after years of struggling. The public relations RFP, accordingly, called for an agency to help the company tell its broader corporate story, with a specific focus on top-tier business media.
At a corporate level, Gap Inc has faced sustained scrutiny of its labor practices over the past two decades. Recently, the company has been criticised for "inaction" after serious garment factory incidents in Bangladesh.
Gap has refused to sign a legally binding Bangladesh safety accord and instead launched the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety with more than 15 US companies, a self-monitored initative that pledges more than $100m to improve factories in the country.
Gap Inc is not typically known to use much external public relations counsel. Edelman representatives referred calls to the company, which did not respond to request for comment.