Gap prepares to open its first stores in Africa
As part of its global expansion strategy, Gap Inc announced plans to open its first Gap store in Egypt this July and its first Gap and Banana Republic stores in Morocco this October. These store openings will mark the company's first entry into Africa and will house Gap, GapKids and babyGap collections and Banana Republic's accessible luxury clothes and accessories for men and women.
Last year, Gap Inc. first made its products available to African consumers in Egypt, Morocco, and South Africa through the company's international online shipping provider. “We are thrilled to be taking another important step in our franchise business and global expansion strategy by bringing our store experience to consumers in Africa for the first time,” said Stephen Sunnucks, president of International, Gap Inc. “The rapidly growing consumer base in North Africa provides an ideal environment to introduce both Gap and Banana Republic to the continent.”
Gap Inc. is focused on growing its share of the $1.4 trillion global apparel market. Over the last five years, Gap Inc. has grown its franchise store base to more than 180 and expanded from 2 to 25 countries throughout Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Australia. With announcement, the company now has franchise agreements in place to bring its brands to 29 countries, including Chile and Serbia in fiscal year 2011. The company expects to double its franchise stores to 400 by fiscal year 2014.
As part of an existing franchise agreement with The Fawaz Al Hokair Group, Gap will open its first Egyptian store in the Mall of Arabia in the capital city of Cairo: Africa's largest city and renowned for centuries as the center of learning, culture, and commerce. Two additional Gap stores will open at Cairo's City Stars Mall and Sun City Mall this October.
Egypt is the fourth country to be managed under Gap Inc.'s franchise agreement with The Fawaz Al Hokair Group, one of Saudi Arabia's leading retail and commercial firms. The group also manages the company's franchise locations for Gap brand in Jordan, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia.
Entering Egypt marks an important milestone for the company. The country's rapidly growing consumer base of approximately 83 million people, the largest population in the Arab world, and position as a gateway to the rest of Africa offer significant opportunity to bring Gap brand to the market.
The company has signed a new franchise agreement with the Aksal Group to open its first Gap and Banana Republic stores in Casablanca, Morocco. Both stores will be located in the city's new Morocco Mall and will open at the same time as the mall's grand opening this October. Morocco will be the first country to be managed by the Aksal Group for Gap Inc.
With 14 million visitors per year, Casablanca is the premier shopping destination in North Africa. Morocco's booming retail market and increasing urban population provide Gap Inc. with a terrific opportunity to introduce Gap and Banana Republic stores to the country.