Gap Expanding Old Navy in Middle East

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. “Given the family-centered culture of the region, we believe Old Navy’s iconic American apparel and focus on fashion, family and value will really resonate with customers.”

Saudi Arabia–based Alhokair manages more than 80 brands, including Gap and Banana Republic.

“We are delighted to be opening Old Navy in Saudi Arabia,” said Simon Marshall, Alhokair chief executive officer. “The first stores will open in the vibrant shopping districts of Riyadh and Dammam, with several more across the country planned for 2015.”

Azadea has brought several brands to the Middle East, Northern Africa, Asia and Europe, including opening Gap stores in Lebanon and Cyprus.

“We are proud to announce our partnership with Old Navy and are extremely excited to be introducing this unique concept to the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait,” stated Said G. Daher, Azadea CEO.

In March, the company opened of its first franchise-operated stores in the Philippines.