San Francisco-based Gap Inc. signed deals to open Old Navy stores in six countries in the Middle East next year. Franchisees Fawaz A. Alhokair & Co. and Azadea will open the new stores beginning in the U.A.E., Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Gap has had Gap and Banana Republic stores in the region since 2007. "Entering the Middle East is an important milestone in our strategy to share Old Navy with a broader, global customer base," said Robert Frank, executive vice president of Old Navy International, in a company statement.
eBay is expanding its global shipping program (GSP) yet again, this time to nine additional countries, including some located in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. eBay is pushing sellers to use the GSP to make their items available to buyers in 44 countries — soon to be 53 — but without having to ship internationally. eBay will add the following nine countries to the GSP program beginning April 8: Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Croatia, Malaysia and Turkey.
In the final part of this two-part series on the "20-Plus Things to Watch in Retail” section of JWT's Retail Rebooted report, I discuss 12 of these 20-plus things, including the mobile-powered consumer, shopping hotels and variable pricing. In part one, I discussed 10 trends contained in the report, including 3-D printing, alternative brand currencies and click-and-collect shopping.
The Children's Place announced that it's signed a 10-year franchise agreement with Fawaz A. AlHokair & Co. SJSC, known as "Fashion Retail," to open stores across Saudi Arabia. The first two stores are scheduled to open during the second quarter of 2012. Jane Elfers, president and CEO of The Children's Place, stated, "We are very excited to begin our international expansion beyond North America with a number of stores opening in Saudi Arabia this year."
A report released by A.T. Kearney showed that Brazil is once again first among developing countries for global retail expansion. A.T. Kearney’s Global Consumer Institute’s 2012 Global Retail Development Index (GRDI) ranks the top 30 developing countries for global retail expansion. Brazil, which topped the list for the second year in a row, was followed by Chile, China, Uruguay and India. Botswana (No. 20) entered the GRDI ranking for the first time, signaling regional growth and the future of Africa as a significant consumer market.
American Eagle Outfitters recently opened stores in three new international markets — Morocco, Jordan and Egypt. The retailer opened its store in Jordan at the Taj Mall on Nov. 30; the Morocco store opened in Casablanca at Morocco Mall on Dec. 1; and the Egypt store opened in Cairo’s City Stars Mall on Dec. 10.