NEW YORK (
(GPS - Get Report)
, the parent company of Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Athleta, Piperlime and Intermix brands, announced plans to expand its global growth initiatives to Paraguay, Hungary and further in Mexico.
The San Francisco company said Monday that by the end of the year, it will open its first flagship Gap store in Paraguay, two stores in Budapest, Hungary through new agreements with existing franchise partners Neutral and Gottex Brand, respectively.
Additionally, the company announced plans to open the first free-standing Banana Republic store in Mexico later this year. Previously, Gap offered Banana Republic-branded merchandise in a franchise "store-within-a-store" concept at the Liverpool Department stores.
By the end of 2013, Gap expects to have a presence in eight Latin American countries, including Chile, Panama, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru and Brazil with expectations to add a brand presence in Costa Rica in the near future.
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Gap has significantly expanded the international reach of its brands since launching its first franchise operated store in 2006. Over the last six years, Gap has substantially grown its store base and currently has over 300 franchise stores across the world.
The company said in April that it was expanding its Old Navy subsidiary by beginning to franchise the brand in key international markets in 2014.
Gap shares were falling 0.3% on Monday to $40.44. The stock is up 55% over the past year.
-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.
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