Gap combines international operations into one division
As part of Gap Inc's global growth strategy, the company announced that it will combine its International operations into one division, run out of London.
Led by Stephen Sunnucks, the International division will capitalize on Gap Inc.'s significant global business opportunities by bringing together its company-operated and franchise stores across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia Pacific and South America.
Since joining the company five years ago, Sunnucks, a 30-year retail veteran, successfully guided the growth of Gap and Banana Republic in Europe as well as oversaw the company's rapidly-expanding franchise operations. With announcement, his responsibilities have been expanded to lead the company's brands outside North America. Currently, this amounts to about 530 stores across 30 countries, including eight of the world's top 10 apparel retail markets.
“Our successful openings in China and Italy have given us further evidence that we have a strong game plan for entering and expanding into International markets through a unique combination of online, specialty retail, outlet and franchise stores,” said Glenn Murphy, chairman and CEO of Gap Inc. “Bringing our four International business units under the leadership of a proven global retail executive like Stephen Sunnucks allows us to leverage resources, operate consistently, and grow the business at an accelerated rate.”
Sunnucks added, “As we've expanded into new countries and introduced additional brands from our portfolio, our distinctively American aesthetic has resonated very well, everywhere from Milan to Shanghai to Sydney. We have the flexibility to adapt our formats for each market so that we can gain a larger share of the $1.4 trillion global apparel retail market.”
In addition to bringing together its International operations, the company also announced that John Ermatinger, currently president of Gap Inc.'s Asia Pacific Region, will take on a new role establishing Old Navy International. Ermatinger begins the new role in June, with the objective of opening Old Navy in Japan by the end of 2012. Gap Inc. started shipping products to over 90 countries in 2010, and Old Navy is the top performing Gap Inc. brand in 50 of those 90 countries, demonstrating the appeal of the brand outside North America.
“The Old Navy brand is well known globally for offering customers value, fashion, and a fun shopping experience for the entire family. We now have the International infrastructure in place to launch Old Navy in a cost effective manner in new markets through our range of channels,” added Murphy.
The announcement builds on the company's recent formation of a Gap Global Creative Center in New York, aimed at improving performance and executing one global design vision for Gap brand around the world.
Building on Gap Inc.'s International Momentum in 2010:
Gap Inc. has stated that it expects to increase its shareof revenue that comes from International and online sales to at least 30 percent by 2013. In 2006, Gap Inc. operated in eight countries and only sold products online in the United States. Through its global expansion work in 2010, Gap Inc. products are now sold in 32 countries and available online to customers in over 90 countries worldwide.
Towards the end of 2010, the company opened its first Gap and Banana Republic flagship stores in Italy, and its first Gap stores and an online retail site in China. The new stores in Milan and China have been among the company's top 10 percent performing stores in the world since their openings. In the year ahead, the company plans to open about 190 stores worldwide, including about 10 stores each in China and Italy. It plans to double the number of franchise stores to 400 by 2015.