United States clothing chain Gap Inc. is looking to China to offset sluggish domestic sales, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday. The San Francisco company, which operates Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta, plans to open 25 Gap stores and up to 10 Gap outlet stores in China in 2014, Jeff Kirwan, president of Gap’s China division, was quoted as saying. The company has 80 stores in the country. Also, Gap is rolling out its lower-end Old Navy brand to cater to China’s cost-conscious consumers, with plans to open five this year, the report said. It launched its first Shanghai retail outlet, a 22,000 square foot store, on Saturday. Demand for clothing in China is high, with sales of apparel in urban areas projected to hit US$156 billion by 2017, up 58 percent from 2013, the report said, citing Boston Consulting Group estimates.
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