Odaiba gets first Old Navy outlet

JIJI

Casual wear giant Gap Inc. has opened an Old Navy outlet in Tokyo’s Odaiba district, the brand’s first store outside North America.

The entry of Gap’s low price Old Navy brand into the domestic market is likely to intensify competition among cheap casual wear retailers, including Fast Retailing Co. with its g.u. brand.

At the store’s opening ceremony Thursday, Stephen Sunnucks, president of Gap’s international division, stressed the importance of the Japanese market to the company.

He pointed out that Gap also chose Japan as the site to launch its first high-end Banana Republic store outside the U.S. and Canada seven years ago.

Located on the second floor of the DiverCity Tokyo Plaza shopping complex, the 933-sq.-meter Old Navy outlet is looking to attract mothers in their 20s and 30s with young children, as in the North American market.

It is offering some 2,700 items, including clothes for babies and children, with the cheapest women’s jeans priced at ¥2,990 — about one-third of the ¥8,900 that Gap charges.

Gap operates about 1,000 Old Navy stores in the U.S. and Canada. In the year that ended in January, Old Navy sales in the United States totaled $4.6 billion, exceeding Gap sales of $3.2 billion.