By  on August 12, 2010

Gap Inc. is expanding its global e-commerce reach.

The San Francisco-based company said its e-commerce capabilities will extend to 65 countries by yearend. The international Web push marks the e-commerce debut of Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta outside of the U.S.

With the expansion, Gap’s online presence will touch more of the globe than the company’s brick-and-mortar stores. Gap is in five countries with company-owned units and 20 with franchised units, while Old Navy has no stores beyond North America.

“Online is an efficient way to reach new international customers and test the waters for our brands,” said Toby Lenk, president of Gap Inc. Direct, the company’s e-commerce division. “We’ve put together an aggressive program to grow our e-commerce business from one country to 65 countries this year while continuing to make the shopping experience easier and more convenient.”

Gap has partnered with FiftyOne, a New York-based e-commerce specialist, to develop the online infrastructure needed to support a Web business around the world, with the exception of China. For China, Gap is working with Shanghai Yi Shang Network Information Co. Ltd. to provide e-commerce starting this fall.

Gap’s e-commerce business has been a sales driver for the company. In the quarter ended May 1 online sales were $295 million, up 11 percent compared with the same period the previous year.

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