Gaps Old Navy stores will enter six Middle East markets next spring

Gap's Old Navy stores will enter six Middle East markets next spring

US clothing retailer Gap Inc is to open its first Old Navy Stores in the Middle East through a deal with franchisees Fawaz A Alhokair & Co and Azadea.

The stores will open in spring next year, starting in UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Two more markets - Doha, Qatar - are planned as part of the agreement at a later date.

The move is an important step in the company's international growth strategy, and is the second franchise market expansion for Old Navy. In March, the brand opened its first franchise-operated stores in the Philippines.

Old Navy will be following the Gap and Banana Republic brands into the Middle East. The two have been in the market since 2007. The new stores will offer apparel and accessories collections for men's, women's, kid's and baby.

"Entering the Middle East is an important milestone in our strategy to share Old Navy with a broader, global customer base," said Robert Frank, EVP for Old Navy International. "Given the family-centred culture of the region, we believe Old Navy's iconic American apparel and focus on fashion, family and value will really resonate with customers."

Alhokair is one of the top fashion franchise retailers in Saudi Arabia, managing around 80 brands, while Azadea has a similar track record helping customers into the Middle East, Northern Africa, Asia and Europe, including the Gap brand in Lebanon and Cyprus.