Franchise stores to open in Belgrade and Kiev in 2011
May 13, 2011 (Business Wire) -- Continuing to deliver on its global growth plans, Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) today announced that it will introduce Gap brand to Serbia and Ukraine through new agreements with existing franchise partners. The stores are scheduled to open in 2011 in the cities of Belgrade and Kiev where customers will be able to shop products from Gap, GapKids and babyGap.
"We look forward to bringing Gap's distinctively American aesthetic to consumers in Ukraine, which is considered the fastest growing retail market in Eastern Europe, and Serbia with its young customers who love to shop," said Stephen Sunnucks, President, International, Gap Inc. "With few international brands on the scene today, both markets underscore the effectiveness of our fast and flexible business model to successfully execute our global expansion strategy."
Gap Inc. is focused on growing its share of the $1.4 trillion global apparel market. To capitalize on its significant global business opportunities, the company recently announced the combining of its International operations into one division (read latest Gap Inc. international news and learn more about Gap Inc.'s global runway).
Over the last five years, Gap Inc. has grown its franchise store base to about 180 and expanded from 2 to 24 countries throughout Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Australia. With today's announcement, the company now has franchise agreements in place to bring its brands to 28 countries, including Chile and Egypt in fiscal year 2011. The company plans to double its number of franchise stores to 400 by fiscal year 2015.
Gap is planning to open its first store in Serbia in the capital city of Belgrade later this year. The city's central location, at the crossroads of Southeast Europe, and modern urban plans provide a perfect platform to introduce Gap to the market.
Serbia is the sixth country to be managed under Gap Inc.'s franchise agreement with The Marinopoulos Group, one of Greece's leading retail, commercial and industrial firms. The group also manages the company's franchise locations for Gap brand in Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania.
Last year, Gap Inc. first made its products available to customers in Ukraine online through the company's international shipping provider. Gap expects to open its first store this June in the capital city of Kiev. The store will be in an 836 square meter (9,000 square feet) space on Kreschatik Street, one of the city's most famous and busiest streets. The country's booming retail market – fifth largest in Eastern Europe - and stable economy provide Gap Inc. with a terrific opportunity to now introduce Gap brand stores to customers in Ukraine.