Specialty clothing retailer Gap Inc has remained coy on reports Japanese retail giant Fast Retailing has expressed interest in buying the company.

Gap's share price rose nearly 8% to US$33.80 at midday on Friday (15 February), fuelled by rumours of a potential takeover, according to a report on CNBC

However, a spokesperson for Gap told just-style today: "We do not comment on rumours or speculation."

Fast Retailing, meanwhile, has not yet responded to requests for comment.

Fast Retailing, which operates the Uniqlo casual clothing brand, last month said it expects to book record sales and profits in its current financial year after reporting "considerable gains" across its business during the first quarter.

Last November, Fast Retailing said it will acquire an 80.1% stake in fashion firm J Brand as it looks to strengthen its position in the US.