LOS ANGELES — Gap Inc. has announced plans to open three Forth & Towne stores in the Los Angeles area this fall.

Forth & Towne, Gap’s newest retail concept, debuted last August and is geared to women over 35. There are five stores, four in the Chicago area — where the concept was tested — and one in West Nyack, N.Y.

Gary Muto, president of Forth & Towne, said Los Angeles is a prime market because “our customer lives there — mature, confident women who have an affinity for fashion … but want to look age-appropriate.”

The Los Angeles area stores will bow in Westfield Century City mall in Century City and the Oaks Shopping Center in Thousand Oaks in September, then at Westfield Topanga mall in October.

Forth & Towne plans to open 25 stores by the end of 2007. “We’re on track to deliver that,” said Muto, noting that in addition to entering new markets, “our goal would be to fill in markets. We believe Los Angeles can obviously handle more than three stores.”

Units also may open in Atlanta, Houston, San Francisco/San Jose and Seattle, though specific locations haven’t been picked.

Muto said the concept has proved successful, even as the company continues to fine-tune merchandise, which is offered in sizes 2 to 20.

“There’s always room to refine the concept,” he said. “We want to offer fits that flatter all women’s body types.”

This story first appeared in the June 22, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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