US retail giant Gap Inc is to open its first Gap and Banana Republic stores in Israel.

Under a franchise agreement with Elbit Trade & Retail in the country, the first Gap store in Israel will open this autumn, followed by Banana Republic in spring 2010.

"By signing this agreement, we're building upon the success we've seen in other countries in the Middle East and Mediterranean," said Ron Young, senior vice president of international strategic alliances for Gap Inc.

"We selected Elbit Trade & Retail for their extensive experience in real estate development and their strong track record of operating franchise stores for other retailers."

Gap has opened 89 Gap and 32 Banana Republic franchise stores in 14 countries around the world, including Bahrain, Greece, Indonesia, Korea, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Malaysia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Singapore, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Elbit Trade & Retail is well-known as the exclusive Israeli distributor and retailer of brand names Mango-MNG and G-Star.