GAP IN SOUTH KOREA: Gap and Banana Republic will enter South Korea through franchise agreements with Shinsegae Inter­national, Gap Inc. said Wednesday. Shinsegae plans to open at least 40 Gap and Banana Republic stores over the next three years, with the first units from each brand opening this year. Ron Young, Gap’s senior vice president of international strategic alliances, said, “Since it opened South Korea’s first department store in 1930, Shinsegae has demonstrated a deep understanding of consumer shopping preferences and trends.” Gap Inc. has other franchise agreements for Gap and Banana Republic in the Middle East, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.

TYR SIGNS WEIR: TYR Sport Inc. has partnered with 2004 Olympic silver medalist Amanda Weir. TYR is investing several million dollars in the 10-year endorsement, in the form of direct cash compensation, incentives and marketing, making the swimmer one of the highest-paid Olympic athletes in the world, according to the company, which declined to divulge her compensation. The 20-year-old Weir aspires to become a designer, and she will be involved in developing TYR’s next Olympic swimsuit technology, said the company.

CARUSO’S NEW PHASE: Developer Rick Caruso, owner of The Grove shopping center in Los Angeles, is said to be buying the fabled Miramar hotel in Santa Barbara, Calif., from Ty Warner, founder of the Beanie Babies empire. The hotel would be the first nonretail property in the Caruso Affiliated portfolio. The Los Angeles-based company is developing open-air shopping centers in Glendale and Santa Anita, Calif. Caruso Affiliated declined to give details about the terms of the deal.

This story first appeared in the January 25, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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