American clothing retailer Gap is expected to open its first two stores in Israel, one in Jerusalem and one in Tel Aviv.
The franchise for the brand was granted to Moti Zisser, controlling shareholder of Elbit Imaging, and Arik Ben-Zino, chief of Elbit's retail division. The two stores will spread over more than 500 square meters (5,382 square feet).
In Tel Aviv there are several possibilities for the store's location, with the favorite malls being the Ramat Aviv and Azrieli centers.
The flagship store of the Mango fashion brand, which is also controlled by Elbit Imaging, has been located in the Azrieli Mall for many years now.
Mango's new flagship store is expected to open in Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Center in the coming days. Ben-Zino has said in the past that he views Dizengoff Center as an attractive mall, which draws in a good crowd of people wishing to shop. Thus, this mall's management may also be wooing the American brand.
In Jerusalem the options are more limited. The capital's veteran Malha Mall is considered one of the Azrieli Group's strongest shopping centers.
In addition, Jerusalem now has the pedestrian-only Mamilla Mall owned by businessman Alfred Akirov, which includes a highly profitable Mango store.
Coming to Jordan, Egypt as wellGap Inc. was founded in the United States in 1969 and currently operates some 3,100 stores across the world under the brands of Old Navy, Banana Republic and Gap.
In recent years, the brand has lost some of its glamour, and the growth in sales only comes from stores opened outside the US.
The global economic crisis has also had an impact on the company's financial results: Gap sales in October totaled $1.08 billion – a drop of 12% compared to the same period in 2007.
The sales in the 13 weeks ending November 1 amounted to $3.85 billion – an 8% drop compared to the same period last year.
Gap recently announced its plan to grant a franchise for a store inside a store in 100 department stores in Mexico, and to open stores in Jordan and Egypt by the end of the year.