Gap to expand in Asia
Gap Inc will surpass 100 Gap-branded stores across mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan this weekend when it opens its first store in Guangzhou.
The milestone – reached less than four years after the first Gap store debuted in 2010 – includes Gap and Gap Outlet stores.
Now the company says it will expand Old Navy’s footprint faster than originally planned in mainland China, with its first locations in southern and northern China. The first Old Navy outside of the Shanghai and Jiangsu province region will open in the special economic zone of Shenzhen this weekend, with plans to extend its reach even further with the first Old Navy in Beijing in December, reaching seven stores in five cities in less than a year.
The company is also accelerating plans for Taiwan, with its first Gap store outside Taipei opening in Hsinchu in late November, marking the first store outside Taipei and taking the network to five stores there since opening in March.
“We continue to be excited by the response of Chinese customers to our brands,” said Jeff Kirwan, president of greater China for Gap Inc. “Both Gap and Old Navy have been warmly embraced, giving us confidence to continue our expansion in this vibrant region.”
The company says it has also seen strong growth in eCommerce and continues to push the boundaries between the physical and digital channels, exploring the use of interactive displays that extend customers’ access to its product both in and out of store. The company has been experimenting with virtual wall technology to expand its product offering to customers in current stores as well as with pop-up experiences that can be used to introduce the brand to new consumers.
“We want to lead the way in bringing omni-channel to life in China,” added Kirwan. “It’s early days yet, but with the addition of virtual experiences both in our Gap stores and in other non-traditional locations, we hope to offer more points of access to our Chinese customer so she can shop our brands wherever, whenever and however she wants.”
Gap Inc. opened its first namesake stores in November 2010 in Shanghai and Beijing along with simultaneous launch of a dedicated eCommerce site. Gap brand is now in 25 cities in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan with three dedicated eCommerce sites (www.gap.cn, www.gap.hk, www.gap.tw) and a storefront on Tmall. The company launched its first Old Navy store and eCommerce site (www.oldnavy.cn) simultaneously in March this year, and already has five stores in three cities, as well as a shop on Tmall.