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Gap Inc. To Start Franchising Athleta And Janie & Jack Brands Internationally

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Gap Inc. said it will begin franchising the Athleta and Janie & Jack brands internationally as part of its efforts to grow the businesses outside the U.S. Athleta is the company's athletic apparel brand, and Janie & Jack its children's apparel brand.

The move comes as the apparel retailer plans to split itself into two public companies - one consisting of the Old Navy brand, and the other yet-to-be-named company that will be devoted to the Gap, Athleta, Banana Republic, Intermix and Hill City brands.

"Given the premium, gift-worthy children's looks of Janie & Jack and the versatile, sustainable women's performance apparel of Athleta, we feel the two brands will resonate with customers in new and existing markets internationally," said Roy Hunt, Senior Vice President of Gap Inc. Global Franchise & Strategic Alliances.

Gap had acquired Janie and Jack's intellectual property, website and other assets earlier this year after the brand's parent company and children's clothing retailer Gymboree Group filed for bankruptcy.

The San Francisco-based retailer will franchise the two brands through its Global Franchise & Strategic Alliances Division.

In order to generate market awareness for the brands, Gap said it will start by franchising online and shop-in-shop formats. Eventually, the company will open brick-and-mortar stores with proven partners.

Gap already has a strong franchise business. The company began franchising its brands in 2006 when it opened its very first franchised store in Singapore.

In the last three years, Gap has opened 100 new franchise locations. However, in the U.S., all stores are owned and operated by the company.

Currently, the company's franchise business has more than 500 locations around the world in nearly 40 countries that offer customers access to the Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy brands. It also has 35 e-commerce sites.

In January this year, Gap announced a partnership with AR Retail S.A., a member of Grupo Promerica, to open 45 Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy stores in Central America as well as the Caribbean over the next eight years.

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