Apparel giant Gap Inc says it will open two branches of its Banana Republic chain  in Tokyo later this summer.

Gap announced in November last year that it would grow the Banana Republic brand to Japan, with three store openings by the end of 2005.

The new stores, planned for September, are situated in the key shopping areas of Printemps Ginza (scheduled to open 1 September) and Roppongi Hills (scheduled to open 3 September), with a third location due to be announced in July.
 
Andrew Rolfe, president of Gap Inc's international division, is overseeing Banana Republic's expansion in Japan.

Rolfe said : "Ginza and Roppongi Hills are both locations where our customers expect to find contemporary and high quality fashion".

Banana Republic currently has more than 450 stores and annual sales of more than $2 billion in North America.

Gap Inc is a leading international specialty retailer offering clothing, accessories and personal care products for men, women, children and babies under the Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy brand names.