The Gap Inc. opened its first Banana Republic store through its franchise channel in Russia said it and plans on opening its first Gap store in Serbia on Friday.
The Serbian store will mark the company’s 200th franchise store globally, according to the company.
The Banana Republic store in Russia is located in Moscow’s AfiMall City, and will be managed under Gap’s existing franchise agreement with Fiba Holding, which also manages the brand in Turkey and the Ukraine.
The San Francisco-based company entered the Russian market in 2008 with its first Gap store. Since then, the firm has increased its Russian store base to 11 franchised stores, including nine in Moscow.
“Russia’s consumer base has nearly double the amount of disposable income compared with the average Western consumer,” said Stefan Laban, Gap’s managing director of strategic alliances. “Given Russia’s high demand for retail consumption, the market presents an ideal opportunity to introduce Banana Republic’s affordable luxury offering.”
Gap’s new Serbian store is located in Belgrade on Knez Mihailova Street, and will be managed under a franchise deal with The Marinopoulos Group, which manages the brand’s franchised locations in Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania.
“This is a significant landmark for our goal of growing our franchise store base to 400 by 2014,” Stephen Sunnucks, president of Gap international said of the store openings.
Over the last five years, the Gap has grown its franchise store base to 200 and expanded to 27 countries throughout Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Australia and Africa.
The retailer has franchise agreements in place to bring its brands to 32 countries, including Chile, Vietnam and Morocco in fiscal year 2011.