China to Become Gap Inc.’s No.2 Market in 3 Years

A Gap store opened in Shanghai last year. Another 10 stores are planned for China.

A Gap store opened in Shanghai last year.

San Francisco—Gap Inc. is looking to become less dependent upon the (unpredictable) U.S. market, which accounts for about 84% of all its sales.

Speaking last week at an investor’s day, Jeff Kirwan, president of Gap Inc.’s China business, said the company expects its sales in China to triple in the next three years to $1 billion, making it its second largest market

Less Reliant on U.S. Sales

In fact, the retailer has already made inroads though it lags some European rivals there.

Last year, Gap Inc. opened 34 Gap stores in China, bringing its total there to 81. It will open about another 30 this year. The company recently opened its first Old Navy store in China. “We can push Old Navy deep into China,” said Kirwan, noting that its stores offer an authoritative point of view on American styles that Chinese shoppers apparently seem to like.

Meanwhile, North American sales have cooled of late at Gap Inc’s three major brands. Companywide,  comp store sales rose 2% last year.

Gap Inc. also said it would expand a service that allows shoppers to reserve items online for pick-up in-store to all of its Gap stores this year, as part of efforts to blend its e-commerce and store businesses.

Gap. Inc. will also start testing a feature allowing shoppers to order items online while they are in a store.

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Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology. jeffp@busjour.com

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