.By 2013, the company plans to have 700 Gap stores, a big
reduction from the current total of nearly 900. “This represents a 34
percent decrease in the Gap specialty store fleet when compared to the
end of 2007,” the company said ..Gap Inc. reported a sharp, 19
percent drop in Q2 profit back in August, and same-store sales have been
down across its Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic stores for much of
the year ..Earlier this month, the New York Observer reported that Gap would be closing between 12 and 15 of its 30 New York City doors, citing an anonymous real estate executive. Gapresponded the next day, saying that number was “extremely exaggerated,” but
admitted that has been open about its real estate consolidation efforts ..That
news was particularly interesting to follows of the New York retail
scene, as Uniqlo opens two giant flagship stores in Manhattan this
month. Uniqlo’s leaders have said that their goal is to eventually
overtake Gap in the U.S. as the biggest moderate apparel chain—an
ambitious plan, considering the Japanese chain’s U.S. stores will total
three by the end of the year ..But it’s clear that Gap Inc.’s
growth is not slowing outside of North America. The retailer plans to
open its first Old Navy store in Japan in the next year and half, and
triple its Gap stores in China (to 45) by the end of next year. Stores
are opening, or will open next year, in Vietnam, Guam, Russia, Serbia,
Chile and Morocco, among others. The retailer has expanded to 27 new
countries in the last five years ..The company said that sales outside of North America increased 16 percent in the first half of the year ..Gap Inc. operates a total of 3,100 company-operated stores and about 200 franchise stores in 36 countries .