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Gap Launches New Japanese Sites

GPS URBN

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Leading apparel retail chain, Gap Inc. (GPS - Analyst Report), continues with its global online expansion and is now set to further explore the Japanese market. The company announced the launch of its new online shopping sites in order to better serve its Japanese customers. The new Japanese e-commerce sites, gap.co.jp and bananarepublic.co.jp, will sell merchandise including Gap, GapKids, babyGap and Banana Republic brands.

The new sites will focus on Gap’s innovative “Universality” platform and will integrate both the Gap and Banana Republic brands under one, simpler e-commerce platform. Apart from providing an extraordinary online experience to its Japanese patrons, these new sites reaffirm the company’s keen interest in easing the way more people can reach its signature American style merchandise.

Additionally, these 24-hour sites will enable customers to shop Gap’s products in the comfort of their homes and at any hour of the day. The sites detailed product descriptions along with swifter delivery and free shipping make shopping easy for customers.

Gap Inc. also has its own e-commerce sites for customers in China, Europe and Canada. Additionally, the company provides the facility of shopping online through its U.S. e-commerce sites and delivers its products internationally in about 90 countries.

Earlier this month, Gap’s close competitor, Urban Outfitters Inc. (URBN - Analyst Report) announced its entry into Japan with the signing of a multi-year agreement with World Co. Ltd. for the distribution and marketing of its specialty clothing brand, Free People in Japan. Through the agreement, the company will have its clothing brand distributed throughout Japan from shop-in-shop locations, direct-to-consumer sites and stand-alone stores.

This move by Urban Outfitters marks its full-scale entry into the Japanese market and is in line with its plan of solidifying its presence in Asia. The company will commence its operations with the Free People brand's spring 2013 collection.

Gap currently maintain a Zacks #2 Rank, which translates into a short-term Buy rating. Our long-term recommendation on the stock remains ‘Outperform’.

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