The Gap Inc. is continuing its global push.
The specialty retailer said Wednesday that the next stop for international growth is Latin America: more specifically, Panama, Colombia, Uruguay and Peru.
As part of its existing deal with Superior Retail Inc., the retailer has opened two doors, a Gap and Banana Republic, in the Albrook Mall in Panama City.
“With a high rate of tourism and a rapidly growing demand for international retail brands, Panama provides an ideal environment in which to introduce Gap and Banana Republic,” said Stefan Laban, managing director of strategic alliances for Gap Inc. “At the crossroads of the Americas — serving as a bridge for business and travel between North, South and Central America — Panama also represents an important gateway for the future expansion of our brands in the region.”
The company plans to open three more stores in Panama in 2012, two Gaps and one Banana Republic. In addition, it will open its first stores in Colombia, in Bogota and Medellin, this year through the Superior Retail partnership.
Through an agreement with Komax, Gap will increase its presence in Chile, opening the first Banana Republic store there this summer and two Gap stores later this year.
The San Francisco-based firm also inked an agreement with a subsidiary of Neutral to bring Gap to Uruguay this year. It also signed a deal with a Komax subsidiary to extend its footprint to Peru in 2013.
“Latin America hosts some of the fastest-growing retail markets in the world with extremely high brand recognition for both Gap and Banana Republic,” said Laban. “This, combined with the tremendous response to the launch of Gap in Chile, makes us confident there is significant opportunity for our brands in Colombia, Peru and Uruguay, as well as other countries in the region.”
Over the last six years, Gap has grown its franchise store base to more than 200, expanded to 33 countries throughout Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Australia and Africa, and has franchise agreements in place to bring its brands to 39 countries on six continents. In fiscal 2011, the company said it opened franchise stores in eight new countries and grew the net sales of its franchise business 45 percent. By fiscal 2014, the firm expects to have 400 franchise stores.