Gap, which runs the Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic chains, plans to close 189 locations or 21 percent of its namesake store in the U.S. by the end of 2013. At the same time, the largest U.S. clothing chain said it plans to triple the number of Gap stores in China from about 15 by the end of the year to roughly 45 by the end of next year.
This is in response to the company’s goal of reducing its overall square footage in the U.S. by 10 percent from 2007 to the end of 2013, while roughly doubling revenue from outside of the U.S. to 30 percent by the end of the same year.
Like many U.S. companies Gap has been looking for overseas growth as Americans continue to cut back on spending during the down economy. In addition to the store openings in China, the company said its first Gap flagship in Hong Kong will open in a few weeks, and the first Banana Republic store in Paris will open later this year. The company also plans to expand Old Navy outside of North America to Japan within the next 18 months.
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