SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Clothing company Gap Inc. has opened its first Banana Republic store in Russia and plans on opening its first Gap store in Serbia on Friday.

The Serbian store will be Gap’s 200th franchised store worldwide, the company said Thursday.

The Banana Republic store will be in Moscow’s AfiMall City. The company’s first Gap store opened in Russia in 2008. The new store will be managed under Gap’s existing franchise agreement with Fiba Holding, which also manages the brand’s franchise locations in Turkey and the Ukraine.

The Serbian store will be in Belgrade and will be managed under a franchise deal with The Marinopoulos Group. The store will have products from the Gap, GapKids and babyGap collections.

Stephen Sunnucks, president, international for Gap said in a statement that the company plans to increase its franchise store base to 400 stores by 2014. The San Francisco retailer currently has a franchise store base of 200, with stores in 27 countries throughout Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Australia and Africa. Gap said it has franchise deals in place to bring its brands to 32 countries, including Chile, Vietnam and Morocco in fiscal 2011.

Last month Gap, the nation’s biggest clothing seller, reported that deep discounting and escalating production costs drove its second-quarter profit down by 19 percent.

San Francisco-based Gap’s other brands include Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta. It has about 3,100 company-run stores and about 200 franchise stores in more than 90 countries.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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