US clothing retailer Gap is confident it can weather the fallout from Europe’s sovereign debt crisis.

US clothing retailer Gap is confident it can weather the fallout from Europe’s sovereign debt crisis.

Gap managing director and senior vice-president for Europe Sonia Syngal said: “It’s a tougher market, there’s no doubt. We are confident, based on our history, that we can manage to work through – customers come to us, particularly in tougher times.”

Syngal added that only Europe would play “an important role” in Gap’s international goal to increase sales outside its US domestic market.

The fashion retailer operates The Gap and Banana Republic brands. Although the US currently accounts for most of its worldwide turnover, Gap is increasingly expanding its international presence to offset sluggish growth at home.

In particular, the retailer plans to open more Banana Republic stores in Paris and in provincial cities around France. Gap opened its first Banana Republic store in France in December 2011 in Paris.

Gap international president Stephen Sunnucks said: “With a growing base of loyal customers across Europe, both in our stores and online, we’re confident that shoppers in Paris will have a strong appetite for Banana Republic’s proposition.”

Locations for the new stores have not been decided yet, according to Severine Cisinski, who runs Gap’s French operations.

Earlier this year, Gap launched eight additional European ecommerce sites. Gap’s first dedicated site launched in the UK in August 2010, followed by nine other European countries in October 2010. Customers in 18 countries are now able to buy from the sites.

Separately, at home Gap announced that it was expanding its Gap Mobile4U programme to deliver personalised real-time location-based discounts.

Gap is also working with Visa on a mobile initiative. Shoppers can opt-in to the service to receive tailored discounts and promotions via SMS when qualifying transactions are made with enrolled Visa accounts. Consumers can then redeem the offers by presenting the text message at Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy stores.

Gap continues to focus on executing its global growth strategy – which includes franchise, online and company-owned expansions – and is expected to enter new markets to increase sales outside the US.

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