As our company shifts to a global brands structure, we are taking this opportunity to look back at how far we’ve come with our franchise business.
We opened our first franchise store in 2006, in Singapore, and now we have more than 300 stores in about 40 countries. With each opening, we’ve been able to introduce our brands to more and more customers around the world.
This has definitely been a year of notching up air miles. As I travel around the world, I’m amazed by the local buzz and excitement our store openings attract. It makes me feel incredibly proud to work for this brand.
In 2012 alone, we opened more than 75 stores across Gap and Banana Republic, with debuts in Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Guam, Georgia, South Africa and Armenia (to name a few). In just one week alone, we opened six stores across three continents.
We’ve made good progress with our Latin America growth strategy, with recent debuts in Panama, Colombia and Uruguay. In September, we opened our first freestanding Gap store in Mexico, which caused much buzz and attracted large crowds as Reik, a Latin Grammy award-winning band, performed at the opening party. And later this year, we’ll be making further Latin America debuts in Brazil and Peru.
It’s not all about brick and mortar stores, though. In December, our franchise partner, Fiba, launched a new e-commerce site in Turkey to complement existing Gap and Banana Republic stores across the country. It was an exciting step forward for us – it’s the first time our relationship with a franchise partner has gone online.
Here’s to a great 2013, as we introduce our brands to more and more customers around the world.