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250 Stores and Eight Fun Facts

CompanyTanya Hart, Gap Inc. blogger1 Comment

Last week, Panama welcomed its newest Gap —our 250th franchise store. We think this is a cool enough milestone to, you know, blog about it.

Gap, of course, started out with one store in San Francisco back in 1969. So it’s been fascinating to see how we’re treated in markets like Chile, Serbia and the Philippines. In many cases, our franchise stores are received like rock stars — customers wait in long lines to buy up clothes they’ve seen only in magazines. It’s exciting when it happens — like an international red carpet — and each opening means we’re getting closer to our goal of 400 franchise stores by 2014.

No. 250 was in Panama, not the first Gap in that country. But here are eight facts you should know about our franchise business (no, really, they’re fun):

1. The first franchise store opened in Singapore in 2006.

2. For the 2007 Gap Turkey launch, performers rappelled down the front of the store building.

3. In 2011, more than 50 new franchise stores opened, including new markets Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Egypt, Serbia, Vietnam, Chile, Poland and Morocco.

4. At the 2008 opening of Gap in Saudi Arabia, the crazy stripe scarf sold out within 14 minutes — in the middle of the desert. Puffer jackets, Gap Arch Hoodies and cowl neck sweaters? Gone, in all sizes and colors, on opening day.

5. For the Banana Republic Philippines launch in 2008, the brand hosted an outdoor fashion show the same day a typhoon passed through; the rains held off for the event.

6. For the Banana Republic Turkey launch in 2008, we hosted a party for 600 people at a former palace on the Bosphorus Sea, with a live fashion show, jazz musicians and artwork from local artists.

7. The first South America Banana Republic opened a few weeks ago in Chile, with a group of 24 models parading through the city, leading customers to the store's front door while a jazz band serenaded.

8. The next stop: Gap launches in Lebanon in August and Colombia in September.