Al Tayer Group based in Dubai plans to open about 25 Gap and about 10 Banana Republic stores by 2010. The first Gap stores will open in the later part of 2006 and the Banana Republic stores are scheduled to open in 2007.

“The Middle East, with its young and affluent population, is a particularly attractive market for the Gap and Banana Republic brands. Dubai, in particular, is a world class shopping destination with some of the largest and most important shopping malls in the world,” said Joshua Schulman, senior vice president of international strategic alliances, at Gap Inc. “Through our alliance with Al Tayer Group and their deep understanding of these areas, we are now able to bring Gap’s casual style and Banana Republic’s affordable luxury to consumers in these dynamic markets.”

This is Gap Inc.’s second franchise agreement to extend its portfolio of brands to international markets. It follows the company’s January announcement that Gap and Banana Republic stores will open under franchise and distribution agreements in Singapore and Malaysia.

Under its agreement with a Gap Inc. subsidiary, Al Tayer Group and its subsidiaries will hold exclusive rights to operate Gap and Banana Republic branded apparel and accessories stores in United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and exclusive rights for Gap in Oman.

Gap Inc. will leverage Al Tayer Group’s expertise in building retail outlets in the Middle East and will provide access to Gap and Banana Republic’s world-renowned clothing and accessories. Al Tayer Group will purchase merchandise from Gap Inc. or suppliers designated by Gap Inc. and must adhere to Gap Inc.’s quality standards to preserve the reputation of the Gap and Banana Republic brands.

“We are looking forward to bringing Gap and Banana Republic brands to the Middle East markets. Being the largest luxury retailer in the region, we are pleased to be entering a new segment of the market with these globally successful brands. Providing a shopping experience synonymous with that of the brand’s home country, we’re confident about customers enjoying a truly international shopping experience.” said Khalid Al Tayer, Group General Manager – Business Development, at Al Tayer Group.

Gap Inc. currently owns and operates Gap brand stores in five countries and Banana Republic stores in three countries. With today’s announcement and it’s previously announced franchise and distribution agreements for Singapore and Malaysia, the company is expanding the global reach of its brands with Gap stores in 12 countries and Banana Republic stores in 9 countries by 2010.

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