24 March 2019
GAP is adopting a multi-brand, multi-channel strategy in China. Photo: Bloomberg
GAP is adopting a multi-brand, multi-channel strategy in China. Photo: Bloomberg

GAP to add 35 stores in China this year

American fashion retailer The Gap Inc. plans to open 35 stores in China this year and boost market share by adopting a multi-channel, multi-brand strategy.

Jeff Kirwan, president of Gap’s China division, said the strategy will allow the company to compete in a market where there are other American-style clothing brands, the Hong Kong Economic Times reported Monday.

Under its multi-channel strategy, GAP will not only sell its products in physical stores but also use its official website and e-commerce platforms like Alibaba Group’s and Tecent Holdings Ltd.’s (00700.HK), the report said. GAP currently has 80 stores in 19 cities across China.

Normally, a retailer’s official website has a better sales performance than e-commerce platforms, but it’s a bit different in China where performance varies. Kirwan said Tmall is a partner for branding as the internet shopping mall is one of the channels for consumers to get to know GAP.

As Chinese consumers have stronger interaction with brands compared with their counterparts in other countries, the company will communicate with them through various channels, including WeChat, Weibo and emails, Kirwan was quoted as saying.

GAP will also tap mobile games. Last Christmas, it launched a gift-sending game where winners can get a gift from its physical store and pack it with their own designs. The promotion attracted 600,000 people to join the game and visit GAP stores, the report said.

Besides GAP, the company also has middle-to-high-end brand Banana Republic, and has opened a store for its casual wear brand Old Navy in Shanghai in March. It may take some time before it launches Old Navy in Hong Kong, it said.

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