Gap Inc. Direct to Launch Online Footwear Business to Compete with Zappos

Gap Inc. (San Francisco) plans to launch a new online footwear business through its e-commerce division, Gap Inc. Direct. Featuring leading brands for women, men and children, the new business is expected to go online in time for the 2006 holiday season.

“The highly fragmented, rapidly growing online footwear market offers a tremendous opportunity for Gap Inc. to leverage our expertise in e-commerce, merchandising and marketing to deliver a distinct fashion point of view,” said Toby Lenk, president of Gap Inc. Direct. “Customers will be able to put together complete looks online from head to toe.”

Online footwear sales are growing nearly 15% annually and will become a $5.5 billion market by 2010, according to analysis conducted by Forrester Research in 2005. The online footwear market is currently dominated by Zappos (Las Vegas).

“Almost two-thirds of our online customers surveyed last year said that they would buy shoes online from Gap Inc.,” said Lenk. “, and are all consistently among the top 10 specialty apparel sites in terms of traffic, so we believe we already have an active and loyal customer base for online footwear.”

Source: Gap Inc.

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