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Gap to drive outlet and online business in the UK

Gap will drive its outlet and online business in the UK as part of its strategy for international expansion.

Speaking at the Piper Jaffray 29th Annual Consumer Conference in the US today Gap chairman and chief executive Glenn Murphy outlined the group’s plans to stabilise its business. He said that he also wanted to expand Gap’s outlet business internationally in the wake of the global downturn.

“The psychological shift on value will last for a very long time.”

Glenn Murphy, chairman and chief executive, Gap

Murphy said: “We want to get our outlet business in a much broader way around the world. We’ve always had a value business with Old Navy and our outlet stores in the US.”

“It’s very small in the UK and Japan and this is the ultimate complement and derivative of the core brand. The psychological shift on value will last for a very long time. So we are thinking about how we can complement our core brands with outlet and online business. It’s a big move forward for us and you’ll see that in Canada, the UK and Japan.”

Murphy also said it had been frustrating that its outlet and online business in the US had not been expanded internationally. Gap is launching online in the UK via fashion etailer Asos in august.

Murphy said: “It’s about time that we took our online business that’s been so complimentary to our brands in the US and take it to Canada in the UK,” he said.

He seemed to suggest there could be a standalone UK Gap site when he said: “Those will launch in 2010 and then in Japan.”

Murphy said there was more scope to expand its Banana Republic business in the UK, which launched in Regent Street in March 2008.

The group is also planning to launch new store concepts for each of its Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy fascias in the US in the autumn.

Gap will also revamp 50 Old Navy stores in the US this year.

Gap reiterated its full year capital expenditure guidance of $350 million (£214m) for fiscal year 2009.

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