Gap to expand globally in 2010

Gap Inc., parent to the Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy chains, announced several moves Thursday to expand its international presence.

The San Francisco company said it would open its first Gap store in China in 2010, expand its outlet store presence abroad and launch online businesses in Canada and Britain next year.

Gap brand will also return to television advertising in November after a two-year absence, the company said.

“With our improved economic model, we’re ready to step up our investments and strategies to regain market share and expand our international platform,” Glenn Murphy, chairman and chief executive of Gap Inc., said in a statement.


The company’s chains will also work to improve their stores and product assortments.

Gap brand, which launched a line of premium denim in August, will continue to focus on reinventing key product categories, such as khakis and pants, through 2010, the company said.

Banana Republic, which the company said became “too serious” and “too heavily work focused,” is working to create a more versatile lineup “that balances products more evenly across weekend, work and going-out occasions.”

Gap Inc. operates more than 3,100 stores in the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Japan and Ireland. Its fiscal 2008 sales were $14.5 billion.

Shares of Gap fell 18 cents, or less than 1%, to $22.79.

Last week the company reported that September sales at stores open at least a year fell 8% at Gap North America and 12% at Banana Republic North America. Sales at Old Navy North America, the company’s least expensive chain, rose 13%.