GAP INC. TO FURTHER GLOBAL EXPANSION BY BRINGING GAP AND BANANA REPUBLIC TO ITALY IN 2010
First flagship stores to open alongside each other in Milan’s leading shopping area
SAN FRANCISCO – February 25, 2010 – Building off its strong financial performance in 2009, Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS) today announced that it would enter the Italian market in 2010 as one of its long term growth investments. Expanding on the international appeal of its London and Paris stores, the company plans to open Gap and Banana Republic flagship stores next door to each other in Milan’s leading shopping area on the Corso Vittorio Emanuele in late 2010 with additional openings in other Italian cities such as Rome to follow in 2011. As a globally renowned fashion and tourist centre, Milan offers a strong initial market for both brands.
“As we continue to expand our global presence and deliver our customers great product, we are excited to enter another market that’s also one of the top five apparel markets in the world,” said Stephen Sunnucks, President Europe and International Franchise at Gap Inc. “With loyal shoppers already in London and Paris, we think Gap Inc.’s brands will strongly resonate with Italian customers.”
Each of the stores will be wholly owned and operated by Gap Inc. leveraging the company’s existing European teams and distribution infrastructure. The 25,500 square foot Gap flagship store in Milan will span three floors, and house collections from Gap, GapKids, babyGap, GapBody, and GapMaternity. Since opening its first store in San Francisco in 1969, today there are about 3,100 Gap Inc. stores across the world, with more than 170 Gap brand stores in Europe. Gap’s style is rooted in simple, easy to wear pieces that form the foundation of any wardrobe – the jean, the khaki, and the pocket tee. The brand epitomizes casual cool which transcends trend making it easy for people to express their personal style.
Founded in 1978, Banana Republic has established itself as a brand that offers a range of great versatile wardrobe solutions, delivering elevated design and luxurious fabrications at approachable prices. The 17,500 square foot Banana Republic flagship store in Milan will house the women’s and men’s ready-to-wear collections, accessories and personal care products. In renovating this flagship space, Banana Republic will retain the building’s rich history while combining contemporary and traditional elements to evoke the brand’s essence of affordable modern luxury. Banana Republic aims to create the best of city style, that attitudinally works across all hub cities – from New York, to Tokyo, to London and now, to Milan.
The company also announced today plans to bring an online shopping site for Gap and Banana Republic to the United Kingdom, which will also serve online shoppers in nine other European countries, including Italy.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the “safe harbor” provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than those that are purely historical are forward-looking statements. Words such as “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “project,” and similar expressions also identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements regarding: (i) store opening locations and timing in Italy; and (ii) online shopping in the United Kingdom and other European countries.
Because these forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that could cause the company’s actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. These factors include, without limitation, the following: the risk that the company will be unable to successfully open, operate and grow the Gap stores planned for Italy; the risk that the company will be unsuccessful in gauging fashion trends and changing consumer preferences; the risk that changes in general economic conditions, consumer confidence, or consumer spending patterns will have a negative impact on the company's financial performance or strategies; the highly competitive nature of the company’s business internationally and its dependence on consumer spending patterns, which are influenced by numerous other factors; the risk that the company will be unsuccessful in negotiating new store locations effectively; the risk that the company will be unsuccessful in implementing its strategic, operating and people initiatives; the risk that adverse changes in the company’s credit ratings may have a negative impact on its financing costs, structure and access to capital in future periods; the risk that changes to the company’s IT systems may disrupt its operations; the risk that trade matters, events causing disruptions in product shipments from China and other foreign countries, or an inability to secure sufficient manufacturing capacity may disrupt the company’s supply chain or operations; the risk that the company’s efforts to expand internationally may not be successful and could impair the value of its brands; the risk that acts or omissions by the company’s third party vendors, including a failure to comply with the company’s code of vendor conduct, could have a negative impact on the company’s reputation or operations; and the risk that the company will not be successful in defending various proceedings, lawsuits, disputes, claims, and audits; any of which could impact net sales, costs and expenses, and/or planned strategies. Additional information regarding factors that could cause results to differ can be found in the company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended January 31, 2009. Readers should also consult the company’s quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended October 31, 2009.
These forward-looking statements are based on information as of February 25, 2010. The company assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise its forward-looking statements even if experience or future changes make it clear that any projected results expressed or implied therein will not be realized.
About Gap Inc.
Gap Inc. is a leading global specialty retailer offering clothing, accessories and personal care products for men, women, children and babies under the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta brand names. Fiscal 2009 sales were $14.2 billion. Gap Inc. operates about 3,100 stores in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Japan and Ireland. In addition, Gap Inc. is expanding its international presence with franchise agreements in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. For more information, please visit www.gapinc.com.