SAN FRANCISCO – May 13, 2011 – 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.
Ukraine is the third country to be managed under Gap Inc.’s franchise agreement with Fiba Holding A.S., which also manages the company’s franchise locations in Turkey (Gap brand and Banana Republic) and Russia (Gap brand).
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than those that are purely historical are forward-looking statements. Words such as “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “project,” and similar expressions also identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding the following:
·Expected franchise store openings, including Serbia, Ukraine, Chile and Egypt;
·Global expansion strategies, including franchise growth;
·Gaining a larger share of the global apparel market;
·Number of future franchise stores.
Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause the company’s actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. These factors include, without limitation, the following:
·The risk that changes in general economic conditions or consumer spending patterns will have a negative impact on the company’s strategies;
·The highly competitive nature of the company’s business internationally;
·The risk that the company will be unsuccessful in gauging fashion trends and changing consumer preferences;
·The risk that the company’s efforts to expand internationally may not be successful and could impair the value of its brands;
·The risk that the company’s franchisees will be unable to successfully open, operate, and grow the company’s franchised stores;
·The risk that the company will be unsuccessful in identifying, negotiating, and securing new store locations effectively;
·The risk that the company will be unsuccessful in implementing its strategic, operating and people initiatives;
·The risk that changes in the company’s credit profile or deterioration in market conditions may limit its access to the capital markets;
·The risk that updates or changes to the company’s information technology (“IT”) systems may disrupt its operations;
·The risk that acts or omissions by the company’s third-party vendors, including a failure to comply with the company’s code of vendor conduct, could have a negative impact on its reputation or operations;
·The risk that the company will not be successful in defending various proceedings, lawsuits, disputes, claims, and audits; and
·The risk that changes in the regulatory or administrative landscape could adversely affect the company’s financial condition and results of operations.
Additional information regarding factors that could cause results to differ can be found in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended January 29, 2011.
These forward-looking statements are based on information as of May 13, 2011. The company assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise its forward-looking statements even if experience or future changes make it clear that any projected results expressed or implied therein will not be realized.
About Gap Inc.
Gap Inc. is a leading global specialty retailer offering clothing, accessories, and personal care products for men, women, children, and babies under the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, and Athleta brands. Fiscal year 2010 net sales were $14.7 billion. Gap Inc. products are available for purchase in over 90 countries worldwide through about 3,100 company-operated stores, about 180 franchise stores, and e-commerce sites. For more information, please visit www.gapinc.com.