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Gap Closing 200 of Its 900 Stores, Focusing on Younger Customers

>> For the first time since 2003, Gap swung positive in year-over-year sales last year. But, Gap Inc. CEO Glenn Murphy says, "We’re still not happy. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t turn over a rock and find opportunity.”

Gap is closing 200 of its 900 worldwide stores by 2013, and will focus more on modernizing its look. Murphy cited “a huge opportunity . . . to fill in with trend-right product and chase products that make sense to us . . . and focus on new category development.” Adds Gap's head of global PR, Anita Borzyszkowska: "We focused on the denim collection 18 months ago: improving the fabric, fit and details [at a reasonable price]. Gap is most successful when it finds its place within the season's trends. The flare and the wide-leg pants are good examples. They are the sort of pieces that could appeal regardless of how closely you follow trends."

The company is shifting marketing dollars to win over new customers, particularly younger ones, as well as African-, Asian- and Hispanic-Americans, since Murphy finds the company's market share in all of those categories too low. In the past, he says, “we didn’t put enough money into acquiring new customers.” 

Growth for Gap is primarily expected to come through global expansion, online, and outlets — in fact, the company sees international and online transactions representing 30 percent of its total revenue by 2013, up from 22 percent in 2010.

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