The Gap, Inc.is an American clothing and accessories retailer based in San Francisco, California, and founded in 1969 by Donald G. Fisher and Doris F. Fisher. The company has five primary brands: the namesake Gap banner, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta. As of September 2008, Gap, Inc. has approximately 135,000 employees and operates 3,076 stores worldwide, of which 2,551 are in the United States.Gap, Inc. remains the largest specialty apparel retailer in the U.S., though it has recently been surpassed by the Spanish-based Inditex Group as the world's largest apparel retailer.Despite the company's publicly traded status, the Fisher family remains deeply involved in Gap, Inc.'s business and collectively owns a significant quantity of the company's stock.
Donald Fisher served as Chairman of the Board until 2004 and remained on the board until his death on September 27, 2009. His wife and their son, Robert J. Fisher, also serve on Gap's board of directors. Robert Fisher succeeded his father as chair in 2004 and also became president and CEO on an interim basis following the resignation of Paul Pressler in 2007.
Glenn K. Murphy is the current CEO of the company. Previous Gap, Inc. CEOs include Millard Drexler and Paul Pressler.
On August 21, 1969, Donald and Doris Fisher opened the first Gap store on Ocean Avenue in San Francisco. The store's merchandise consisted of Levi's and LPs. The Fishers had raised $63,000 to open the store,and in one year, Gap's sales had reached $2 million. In 1970, Gap opened its second store, in San Jose, California, and established its first corporate headquarters in Burlingame, California with just four employees. Gap grew rapidly. By 1973, it had more than 25 stores, including areas outside California—entering the East Coast market with a store in Voorhees, New Jersey. In 1974, Gap began to sell private-label merchandise.Banana Republic, formerly a small retailer selling safari-themed clothing, was purchased by the company in 1983, and eventually was rebranded as an upscale clothing retailer in the late 1980s. Old Navy was launched in 1994, as a value chain with a specialty flair. Forth & Towne, the company's fourth traditional retail concept, was launched on August 24, 2005, featuring apparel targeted toward women 35 and older.On February 26, 2007 after an 18-month trial period, Forth & Towne was discontinued, and the 19 stores were closed.A fifth brand, the online footwear retailer Piperlime, was created in 2006. A sixth brand, Athleta, a women's athletic wear line was added in 2009.Gap's Sales by Division in Q1 2009As of October 30, 2010 there were 3,082 Gap Inc. stores.Those in Canada, Croatia, France, Italy, Ireland, Japan, UK, and US (and Puerto Rico) are company-owned. Stores outside of these countries are owned and operated by franchises.
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