US casualwear giant Gap has centralised its overseas operations to London and promoted European president Stephen Sunnucks.

Sunnucks has been appointed international president and will lead the overseas division, comprising 530 stores in 30 countries outside of the US, from the capital.

He plans to increase Gap’s overseas business from 13% to 30% of group sales by 2013.

London, which was previously the base for Gap’s European and franchise division, will become the retailer’s operational hub internationally for functions such as IT and supply chain across company-operated and franchise stores in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia Pacific and South America.

Gap’s domestic business will continue to be run out of the US.

Gap is planning to open 190 stores worldwide this year across its brands, including about 10 stores each in China and Italy. It plans to double the number of franchise stores to 400 by 2015. It is unclear how many stores will open in the UK.

Gap chairman and chief executive Glenn Murphy said: “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.

“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 said: “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.”

Gap has also formed a Gap Global Creative Center in New York to execute a global design vision for the Gap brand.