US apparel giant Gap Inc has said it is considering launching retail stores in India but stressed it is in the early stages of the process.

The San Francisco-based retailer, which operates more than 3,200 stores worldwide, is allegedly conducting market research in the country to operate retailer stores in the future, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Gap is likely to decide how many stores it will open and how much money it will spend in India early next year, the report added. 

A spokesperson for Gap told just-style: "Gap Inc has a strong growth strategy, as illustrated by our expansion in China, our first international Old Navy store in Japan, the performance of our franchise stores and the opportunity for Athleta in the US. 

"As our CEO has said, India is one of the markets that we could consider in the future, but any exploration of this opportunity is in the very early stages." 

In January, the Indian government approved 100% foreign direct ownership (FDI) in single-brand retail. With proposals involving FDI of more than 51%, at least 30% of the value of products sold would have to be sourced from Indian small industries, the government said.

Last month, Gap booked a 29% jump in second quarter net profit, which was boosted by across-the-board comparable store sales increases for its main brands.

International growth continues to be a key strategy for Gap. In July, it opened its first Old Navy store outside the US, in Japan