Old Navy just announced that it will open in the Middle East – the brand’s next franchise move since expanding into the Philippines in March.
Next spring, we’ll open stores in Dubai, UAE; Kuwait City, Kuwait; and Doha, Qatar as well as Riyadh and Dammam in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with local franchise partners Azadea and Al Hokair.
To get more of an understanding of this big move, we chatted with Blair Dunn, General Manager Franchising & Mexico, Old Navy.
Q: So, how does Old Navy’s growth story fit into Gap Inc.’s growth story?
A: Old Navy launched in the U.S. in 1994 and Canada in 2001. But taking Old Navy beyond North America is a fairly recent phenomenon, beginning with Japan in 2012.
Franchising Old Navy provides us the opportunity to partner with excellent local business partners and open stores quickly, efficiently and economically.
For Gap Inc. to become the world’s favorite for American style, we need to be number one. To be number one we need to grow fast and grow strong. Old Navy is the ticket.
Q: Why the Middle East?
A: Opening in the Middle East after we successfully launched our Old Navy franchise business in the Philippines has always been the plan.
The region is super attractive to us - highly developed economies and a large base of middle-income customers. Plus, shopping as a family is huge in Middle East, which plays perfectly to Old Navy’s brand proposition. Laws require a local partner to operate businesses there so this is a natural franchise fit for us.
Q: What does the future of Old Navy in the Middle East look like, and what are you most excited about?
A: Seeing the Old Navy experience fully realized in all these different markets is incredibly rewarding and exciting for us, especially in the Middle East, where things are so different. It’s been a great learning experience for everyone involved.
It’s a challenge, for sure, but providing the Old Navy experience to customers in a way that is culturally relevant to them around the world is a beautiful thing.