* Store in Chile to open September 2011
* Company reiterates franchise store growth goal
SAN FRANCISCO Nov 17 Gap Inc (GPS.N) said on
Wednesday it would bring its eponymous casual clothing chain to
Chile through a franchise deal with Komex, its first foray into
the South American market.
The company, whose brands include Gap, Banana Republic and
Old Navy, had 165 franchise stores open in 23 countries as of
the end of its third quarter.
The new store in Santiago is expected to open next
Over the past year, Gap has expanded its reach, recently
opening its first company-operated stores in China and opening
a franchise store in Australia this spring. Later this month,
it will open its first store in Italy [ID:nN1497352].
Opening franchise stores allows Gap to expand more cheaply
than it would if it owned and operated the stores.
Gap's growth has been slowing at home, and it is trying to
improve its merchandise to attract new customers while cutting
costs and making operations more efficient.
Gap also has been exploring the idea of expanding its lower
cost Old Navy chain through franchise deals.
Gap said again that it plans to raise its number of
franchise stores to 400 by 2015, and that by fiscal 2013,
international and online sales will make up more than a quarter
of the company's total sales.
The company releases third-quarter results on Thursday.
Analysts expect a slight decline in revenue to $3.6 billion and
net earnings of 48 cents per share.
Gap's shares were up 4 cents at $20.71 on the New York
(Reporting by Alexandria Sage. Editing by Robert MacMillan)