The US fashion giant, which reported an 11 per cent decrease in like-for-like sales in September, said its online business will provide a strong growth opportunity, with sales predicted to exceed US$1 billion (£590 million) in 2008.
In 2009 Gap will integrate Athleta, the sports brand it acquired last month for about US$150 million (£88 million), with its online platform. It will also explore new markets in which to launch its transactional web site, including the UK and Canada.
Gap will also continue to build on franchise opportunities next year with a focus on openings in Mexico, Bulgaria and Romania.
Gap has expanded European president Stephen Sunnucks’ role to oversee new franchise partnerships across its European business. He steps up to president of Europe and international alliances following the axing of Gap’s European design team in August.
MHE Retail chairman Edward Whitefield said that Gap continues to be hampered by the legacy of its historical success with too many “large stores with undifferentiated merchandise”.
However, he added that “online could add 5 to 10 per cent to its sales and the expansion of franchising is the right way to go to build sales.”
For Gap’s Old Navy fascia, which in September suffered a 24 per cent drop in like-for-like sales, it has appointed a new creative agency to try and align its marketing as it repositions to attract young mums.
> US retailers have continued to struggle as the economic downturn deepens. According to the US Commerce Department, the value of retail sales in September fell 1.2 per cent from August.