Gap looks to international shops and internet to help boost sales

AMERICAN clothing retailer Gap has projected that online and international sales will account for more than one-quarter of total net sales by its fiscal year 2013 as it expands its business overseas.

Gap, which operates a namesake chain of clothing stores as well as the Old Navy and Banana Republic chains, said it expects to be in 80 countries by the end of 2010, compared to 25 at the start of the current fiscal year, aided by online sales and third-party deals.

In a statement released ahead of its annual meeting with investors yesterday, Gap said it was considering expanding the Old Navy chain beyond North America, and using its Gap stores opening in China and Italy this fall to spur growth through future outlet stores and online sales there. Gap is opening four flagship stores in China next month and plans to open outlets there in 2012.

In his introductory remarks to investors, chief executive Glenn Murphy said the market in North America for much of the company’s business is “mature”.

Gap is targeting doubling online net sales and the number of its franchise stores to 400 by 2015. In September, Gap reported like-for-like sales fell 2 per cent, missing Wall Street forecasts.