The two stores will feature womens activewear for yoga, running, swim, gym, hiking and skiing

The two stores will feature women's activewear for yoga, running, swim, gym, hiking and skiing

Clothing retailer Gap Inc is set to expand its Athleta athletic apparel brand by opening its first stores in New York.

The move marks the brand's entry into the East Coast market, and is part of wider plans to open up to 50 Athleta stores by 2013.

"Entering New York is a significant milestone for us as we aim to grow our share of the US$31bn women's active wear market," said Athleta senior vice president and general manager, Scott Key.

Located on the Upper West Side and the Upper East Side, the stores will feature women's activewear for yoga, running, swim, gym, hiking and skiing. "Thanks to our successful catalogue business, we already know there's a highly concentrated customer base in the New York metropolitan area," Key added.

Gap Inc bought Athleta in September 2008 for $150m to secure a foothold in the growing women's active apparel market in the US.