The Gap Inc. (GPS), which started operating its franchise-based model eight years ago, announced yesterday that it is entering two new European markets through third-party agreements with new and existing partners. In the press release by Gap, Vice President Ismail Seyis said:
"We are thrilled to be opening in Slovenia and Austria, and can't wait to meet customers when we open our doors for the first time in each capital city.”
In Slovenia, the company will operate through its new international partner Magistrat International, while Gottex Brands, which already manages Gap’s franchise stores in Israel and Hungary, will handle Austria.
Gap plans to showcase its Fall ‘14 collection in Slovenia with three store openings in the capital city of Ljubljana. In September, it will open two more stores in City Park and one in the Emporium department store. Gap will open its first store in Vienna, Austria by October at the Donauzentrum Mall.
To cushion soft sales in the domestic market, Gap has been eyeing international regions to fuel its growth. In 2013 Gap entered Hungary, Paraguay, Peru, Brazil, and Costa Rica in its pursuit of global expansion.
The company is now focusing on China. China is considered to be the largest opportunity for Gap, after the US, to deliver high growth. It plans to open 35 stores in China this year.
In fiscal year ’14, international markets showed 8% growth in sales compared to North America, where growth was 2%.