May 29, 2011
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Gap to open first Italy outlet store on June 2

May 29, 2011

May 27 - U.S. clothing maker and retailer Gap Inc said on Friday it will open its first store in an outlet center in Italy next month, as it continues to expand overseas to spur growth.

Gap Inc.
Pedestrians walk pass the GAP flagship store in Shanghai, China (Photo: Corbis)

Gap, which operates the Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic brands, is tapping foreign markets such as China and Italy to offset lower growth in its mature home market.

The company, which entered Italy in November, will open an outlet store on June 2 near Milan, where it already operates a Gap and a Banana Republic store. Gap expects to bring its outlet concept to China in 2012 and to open other two outlet stores in Italy by the end of this year.

"We are excited to bring the value expression of Gap brand to Italy for the first time and provide Italian consumers with the opportunity to purchase products designed specifically for Gap fashion-minded, value-driven customers," Stephen Sunnucks, President, International, Gap Inc, said in a statement.

The company cut its full-year profit outlook this month citing pressure from rising cotton costs on margins, especially at its less expensive stores, such as Old Navy and its outlet stores.

Net income in Gap's first quarter ended on April 30 fell 22.8 percent to $233 million. Net sales fell 1 percent to $3.3 billion, while sales at stores open at least a year were down 3 percent.

Gap operates about 3,250 stores, of which more than 370 are through its outlet channel. Over the last four years, Gap has stepped up its international outlet store in United Kingdom, Canada and Japan. It has said it aims to at least double the percentage of sales from online and international stores by 2013.

(Reporting by Antonella Ciancio, editing by Bernard Orr)

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