Continuing to execute on its global expansion strategy, Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) announced today the opening of its first free-standing stores in South Africa – the largest apparel retail market in Africa – via its franchise channel. Six months after the successful launch of the company’s first stores on the continent, these store openings mark Gap Inc.’s entry into a third country in Africa – after Egypt and Morocco – and its first in sub-Saharan Africa.
“We are excited to bring Gap’s casual American style to more customers in Africa and introduce South African consumers to the brand’s store experience,” said Stefan Laban, managing director of strategic alliances for Gap Inc. “South Africa is the natural next step for expanding our store footprint on the continent. The country has a thriving economy and high Gap brand awareness, so we believe there is tremendous opportunity for us in the market.”
Gap Inc. expects to open three stores in South Africa in 2012. The first opened on Monday in Sandton City Mall in Johannesburg. The second opened on Tuesday, 20 March, in Cape Town’s Tyger Valley Centre . A third will follow in Pretoria’s Brooklyn Mall later this year. Each store will house product from the international Gap, GapKids and babyGap collections, and the assortment will be customized seasonally to best suit the needs of local customers and climate.
Gap Inc. first offered Gap and Banana Republic products in South Africa through a wholesale agreement with Stuttafords, the premium department store group in the country. Gap Inc. has signed a new agreement with Stuttafords for exclusive rights to operate the company’s first free-standing stores for Gap brand in the market.
“Over the last few years, we have established, through our Stuttafords department stores, the keen appetite for the Gap brand and products in South Africa,” said Hilton Mer, Executive Chairman of the Stuttafords Group. “It is a natural and exciting extension for us to now also be able to offer full Gap styles, in addition to the selective styles that will continue to be available in our Stuttafords department stores.”
Gap Inc. is focused on growing its share of the global apparel market. Over the last six years, the company has grown its franchise store base to over 200, expanded to 34 countries throughout Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Australia and Africa. In fiscal year 2011, Gap Inc. opened franchise stores in 8 new countries and grew the net sales of its franchise business 45 percent. The company expects to have 400 franchise stores by fiscal year 2014. More about Gap Inc.’s global runway can be downloaded from gapinc.com <http://www.gapinc.com/content/dam/gapincsite/documents/GPS_Global_Runway_Backgrounder.pdf> .
South Africa Store Addresses:
Sandton City Mall Sandton City, Rivonia Road, Sandown, Johannesburg
Tyger Valley Centre, Willie Van Schoor Avenue, Bellville, Cape Town