Fri, Mar 07, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Clothes retailer Gap to open three stores in Taiwan this year

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Gap Inc plans to open three stores in Taiwan this year as the iconic US clothes retailer seeks to boost revenue by expanding to rapidly growing Asian markets, a company executive said yesterday.

The expansion is part of Gap’s plan to open 30 new stores across the Greater China region this year, which would give it more than 100 stores in the region by the end of this fiscal year.

The 45-year-old Gap is scheduled to launch its first store in Taipei tomorrow, two years after Spanish fashion brand Zara entered the Taiwanese market. The 1,500m2 flagship store is located within the ATT4FUN shopping mall in Xinyi District (信義).

The company plans to open a second store in the capital later this month and a third in central or southern Taiwan later this year, the company said.

The company will introduce its Gap-branded products to Taiwan. It does not plan to introduce other brands, such as Old Navy or Banana Republic.

Gap president for the Greater China region Jeff Kirwan said the company had seen strong growth in the US with the acquisition of new brands such as Intermix and Athleta, but it would seek larger growth by expanding around the world.

“We see Taiwan as an important milestone in our regional expansion and a market with ample opportunity for growth,” Kirwan said.

Asia is one of the largest growth engines for the US brand, contributing US$1.4 billion, or nearly 9 percent, to the company’s total revenue during last fiscal year, which ended on Feb. 1.

Asked about competition with other brands, such as Zara and Japan’s Uniqlo, Kirwan said Gap is strong in baby and children’s clothing, which accounts for more than 20 percent of the company’s overall revenue.

Uniqlo operates 43 stores in Taiwan, while Zara has six.

In addition to brick-and-mortar stores, Gap also plans to launch an e-commerce service allowing consumers to shop online, Kirwan said.

Sales via e-commerce grew 21 percent annually in the final quarter of last year.

In the last fiscal year, Gap’s total revenue grew 3 percent to US$16.15 billion from US$15.65 billion the previous year, according to the company’s financial statement.

Revenue from Asia grew at 6.64 percent annually during the same period.

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